Dec.6, 1930 — April 24, 2014
The Lord called up Hank on the morning of April 24, 2014, to help manage His herd. Family members and many friends had a chance to bid him farewell.
Hank was born in Merced, but grew up in San Francisco and Salinas. His father was the regional manager for Golden State Creamery. After graduating from Salinas High School, Hank attended Cal Poly, San Luis Obispo, where he played baseball and basketball. At Cal Poly he developed his lifelong passion for livestock judging, and was a member of the winning Collegiate Livestock Judging team at the Cow Palace in 1951. In the 1960’s he was Superintendent of the Intercollegiate Judging Contest at the Cow Palace. He also judged sheep and cattle at many county fairs throughout Northern California, including the State Fair.
During the Korean War, Hank was drafted out of college, and served as a meat inspector for the U.S. Veterinary Corps. In 1954, he married Suzanne Storm of Salinas, and they briefly lived in Fort Bragg, where Hank worked as a ranch manager. He then moved his young family to Lockeford, where he started his own sheep business. When the sheep market collapsed, he went to work for Crocker Bank in Sacramento as an ag lender, and eventually he and Suzanne settled in Woodland, where he managed the Woodland Production Credit Association and Federal Land Bank.
In the 1970’s, Hank left banking to become the business manager for Anderson Farms in Davis. His position led to the formation of Yolo Land & Cattle Co., which evolved into a partnership with his two sons. In the 2000’s, Hank retired from day-to-day management, and focused on another passion, beef genetics. He developed a successful purebred Angus herd, and received the Top Consignor Award at the Cal Poly Bull Test two times. In recent years, Hank also enjoyed hosting visitors at the ranch.
A graduate of Class I of the California Agricultural Leadership Program, Hank served on numerous boards including: Woodland Chamber of Commerce, Yolo County Cattlemen’s & Woolgrowers Assn., Woodland Rotary Club, Woodland Memorial Hospital Foundation, Yolo County Fair, Yolo County Resource Conservation District, Woodland High School FFA Advisory Committee, Production Credit Association, California Beef Cattle Improvement Association, California Cattlemen’s Association, and the California FFA Foundation. He was also an advisor for both the UC Davis and Cal Poly Animal Science Departments.
He was named Yolo County Agri-Businessman of the Year by the Woodland Chamber of Commerce, and Commercial Producer of the Year by the California Beef Cattle Improvement Association. In 2008, he was named the California Livestock Man of the Year by the California Chamber of Commerce, presented at the Cow Palace Grand National Rodeo.
Well-known as an auctioneer, Hank offered his self-taught skills at over a dozen different Junior Livestock auctions in Northern California, including the Yolo County Spring Show and Yolo County Fair. Over a forty-year span, he sold thousands of 4-H and FFA animals, and continued to auction at charity events after he retired. Hank’s family is setting up a memorial fund with the Yolo County Fair, to pay for improvements to the livestock auction building. Tax-deductible donations can be made to: Yolo County Heritage Foundation, c/o Henry Stone Livestock Facilities Fund, 1125 East St., Woodland, CA 95776. Donations can also be made to the California Rangeland Trust, 1225 H Street, Sacramento, CA 95814.
Hank is survived by his wife Suzanne; sons Scott and Casey, and their wives Karen and Angela; and grandchildren Austin, Carson, Keeley and Wilson. He was preceded in death by his parents, Carol and Marea Stone, his stepmother Georgie, and his oldest son David.
A celebration of Hank’s life will begin at 11 a.m. Friday, May 30, at the Yolo land & Cattle Co. ranch headquarters near Esparto. For directions, visit www.yololandandcattle.com.