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Local basketball star turned national leader dies at 57
By Larissa Chinwah | Daily Herald Staff

David Stone

 

Courtesy Cisco Systems

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Published: 11/25/2009 12:29 AM

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David Stone was always a tough defender.

Whether he was stopping opponents on the basketball court for Irving Crown High School or protecting the nation's transportation system from terrorist attacks, Stone was tenacious and remained calm even in the toughest situations, friends and former classmates said.

The Algonquin native died Monday in Washington, D.C. He was 57.

"He was always calm and levelheaded," said Michael Markowitz, 59, a teammate and fellow Dundee-Crown Hall of Fame inductee who remained in contact with Stone. "Even in the toughest games I never saw him get excited. That was his nature. You can see why he got where he got and did what he did."

Most recently, Stone served as president of safety and security of Cisco Smart+Connected Communities, based in India.

President George W. Bush nominated Stone as the Assistant Secretary of Homeland Security for the Transportation Security Administration in 2003. In that role, Stone was responsible for the country's transit system, which includes mass transit, rail, highway, pipeline, maritime and aviation. He remained in the role for 18 months until June 2005.

Before his assignment as assistant secretary, Stone was the transportation administration's first Federal Security Director at Los Angeles International Airport. There he developed the post-September 11, 2001, security standards required by law, including the electronic screening of all checked baggage.

After graduating in 1970 from Irving Crown High School in Carpentersville, which since merged with Dundee High to become Dundee-Crown High School, Stone was recruited to play basketball at the U.S. Naval Academy in Annapolis, Md., where he earned a bachelor of science degree.

He began his naval career in 1974 and retired 28 years later with the rank of Rear Admiral.

During that time, Stone served on a number of ships, including as the commanding officer of the destroyer USS John Hancock, first Commander of Middle East Force on the destroyer Squadron FIFTY, home ported in Bahrain, as Commander of NATO's Standing Naval Force Mediterranean, in Naples, Italy, and as the Commander of Cruiser Destroyer Group 5 during operations in the Adriatic in support of Kosovo conflict.

"Dynamic doesn't do him justice," said Dick Storm, Dundee-Crown athletic director and co-organizer of the school's hall of fame. "When he spoke, you knew you were listening to someone important. The stuff this guy did was amazing. You don't run into people like Dave every day."

Stone was inducted into the Dundee-Crown High School Hall of Fame in 2005. Stone played at point guard, where coaches dared opponents to try to get through him with his long arms and tenacious demeanor.

"He was an outstanding young man, an outstanding naval officer and an outstanding person," said Jim Wilbrandt, who coached Stone in freshman basketball at Algonquin Junior High and later on at Irving Crown. "He was a super individual and the world needs more people like Dave."

Stone is survived by his wife of 32 years, Faith Stone.