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Chicago’s old guard remembers Stone in Skokie

One of Chicago’s longest-serving aldermen was remembered Tuesday in Skokie as a “gentleman” and tireless advocate for the ward he represented for nearly four decades.

Bernard “Berny” Stone, 87, represented Chicago’s 50th Ward from 1973 to 2011 — from Mayors Richard J. Daley to Richard M. Daley and five more in between. He died Monday at Skokie Hospital from complications from a Sunday fall, his daughter has said. He died weeks after his daughter, Robin, 60, who had advanced multiple sclerosis.

Stone’s funeral was held noon Tuesday at Chicago Jewish Funerals in Skokie. The roughly 30-minute service, which was closed to the media, brought together some members of Chicago’s old guard.

Former Ald. Gene Schulter, who represented Chicago’s 47th Ward during much of Stone’s tenure, said Stone was “a great father” and a “great husband.”

“And let me tell you, [he] really worked tirelessly for the people of the 50th Ward,” Schulter said. “He was, you know, always concerned about, ‘Is snow being taken care of?’, ‘Is the garbage being taken care of?’ And so, we served together for a long time, and he certainly will be remembered for doing such a great job for the people of the 50th Ward.”

Former longtime Ald. Dick Mell, who represented the  33rd Ward, said Stone was particularly concerned about his changing community — where the population more recently began to include more Pakistani and Indian residents.

Former alderman Richard Mell  leaves Chicago Jewish Funerals in Skokie where the funeral for former alderman Bernard Stone was held on December 23, 2014. |  Al Podgorski / Sun-Times Media

Former alderman Richard Mell leaves Chicago Jewish Funerals in Skokie where the funeral for former alderman Bernard Stone was held on December 23, 2014. | Al Podgorski / Sun-Times Media

“He was a mediator sometimes,” Mell said. “And I think that, you know, he did well.”

Stone was part of the “Vrdolyak 29″ bloc of the 1980s that stymied Mayor Harold Washington. He also built “Berny’s wall,” a metal barrier down the middle of Howard Street in his Far North Side ward, to keep congestion off the Chicago side when an Evanston shopping center increased traffic.

He was born to Jewish immigrant parents, grew up in Humboldt Park and attended Tuley High, now known as Clemente. He enlisted in the Army in World War II and served stateside in the last months of the war.

Stone met his future wife, Lois, at North Avenue Beach on a one-day pass home. They were married 46 years until her death in 1995.

The funeral procession for former alderman Bernard Stone leaves Chicago Jewish Funerals for the cemetery  on December 23, 2014. |  Al Podgorski / Sun-Times Media

The funeral procession for former alderman Bernard Stone leaves Chicago Jewish Funerals for the cemetery on December 23, 2014. | Al Podgorski / Sun-Times Media

Contributing: Maureen O’Donnell