FFRF Lifetime Member Eric Andrew Stone, Ph.D., born in New York City on Jan. 14, 1941, died by his own hand at his home in Walnut Creek, Calif., on May 21, 2017.
Eric, who had a passion for science and analytical thinking from childhood, attended Stuyvesant High School and New York University, where he graduated magna cum laude and Phi Beta Kappa. He earned his doctorate in psychology from Yale University. When his doctorate was completed he held an internship at Rockefeller University in New York. In 1969, Eric accepted a position at NYU Medical Center, eventually achieving the rank of full professor. For 43 years, Eric worked as a neuroscientist, researching the biochemical effects of stress and depression on the brain. When he retired, Eric was granted the title of professor emeritus.
Eric was a curious and dedicated scientist. However, he gradually found an additional true passion 15 years ago when he began advocating and organizing for freethinking and rationality. He co-founded an atheist group, Westchester Atheists, and when he moved to California, took over the leadership of the atheist group there. Eric developed an encyclopedic knowledge of the history of religion and atheism, and spent the past seven years writing a series of booklets on the deleterious effects of religion on our society. He published the first of these booklets, an autobiographical account of his experience coming out as an atheist, in March 2017, under the title Unhyphenated Atheism. . . Eric was also a talented artist who spent his spare time making metal sculptures for his family.
Eric is survived by his wife of nearly 47 years, Elaine, also a Lifetime FFRF member, his daughter Allison Anderman, son-in-law David Anderman, and grandchildren Zoe (7) and Ian (4).
He and his wife, who first joined FFRF in 2007, with great generosity endowed the one-year legal fellowship, The Elaine and Eric Stone Legal Fellowship, with a magnificent gift of $50,000. It was held by Ryan Jayne. Elaine and Eric were regulars at FFRF's annual conventions.
"We extend our warmest condolences to Elaine for her loss, and will greatly miss Eric. We look forward to seeing Elaine at this year's convention," said Annie Laurie Gaylor, FFRF co-president.