In Memoriam: L.R. Koukal

FFRF ‘close to Joe’s heart’

FFRF Life Member L.R. Koukal sent FFRF this note and an obituary for Joseph Stone, who was killed during a humanitarian trip to Ukraine.

“I frequently read the obituaries and came upon one that makes a postmortem request to donate to FFRF. I don’t know the man, but it gave me pleasure to read that maybe all us atheists are truly making headway in the battle against the bastion of ignorance. This guy beat me to being the first obit request like this. I am 96 and I know shortly all of this will be gone.”

The end of Stone’s obituary states that, “in lieu of flowers, the family asks that you make a donation to the Freedom From Religion Foundation” because it was “close to Joe’s heart.”

Joseph Stone, 36, was killed on April 23 when an explosion, possibly from a land mine or roadside bomb, hit an armored vehicle. He was working for the Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe in the Luhansk region of eastern Ukraine. reported that the “OSCE monitoring mission is made up of unarmed civilians from various countries who observe and report on activity in Ukraine and help foster dialogue among the parties fighting each other. Stone was the first OSCE worker to die as part of the monitoring mission. His death sparked calls from a wide range of governments and agencies for an investigation into the explosion.”

Joe grew up in Tucson and got his paramedic certification there. He traveled the world to help people where they needed it the most, including such places as Afghanistan, Liberia, Iraq and the North Sea, before going to Ukraine.

“He was funny. He was smart. He was a good father. He was nothing less than a humanitarian. He went to the worst parts of the world where the people needed him the most. And he went above and beyond. Always. Always,” Matt Stone, Joe’s younger brother, told TucsonNewsNow.

FFRF thanks Joe and his family for their kind thoughts and appeal for donations.

Freedom From Religion Foundation