Friends gathered on July 11 to celebrate the life of Martin Stone, a former editor of The Suburban, who passed away recently after battles with leukemia and congestive heart failure. He was 77 and a few years ago became the subject of a documentary called Stone Story.
Stone was editor at the time when the separatist Parti Québécois was still in power in Quebec, and federally through the late Trudeau era and early years of the Mulroney government. In local politics, Bernard Lang was still Mayor of Côte St. Luc, Irving Adessky was Mayor of Hampstead and Marcel Laurin was Mayor of St. Laurent. The Suburban was still at its longtime location on Wavell Road in Côte St. Luc.
Former Suburban production manager Karen Landon worked as an editorial assistant with Stone at the beginning of her career in the 1980s.
“He was an old school journalist type, the stereotype of working on the Underwood typewriter with a cigarette hanging out of his mouth,” she said Tuesday. “He was a hard-nosed editor type, great to work with and easy to get along with.”
Lynn Krejberg, also a longtime employee at The Suburban, was a production assistant with Stone when she began working there in the early 1980s.
“Martin was always a hippie, and an interesting fellow, but he still had that 1960s mindset. He was a very nice man. I connected with him not long ago on Facebook.”
Mark Lehberg, who was production manager at The Suburban, was sad to hear the news. Lehberg said Stone was “a great guy to work with, very down to earth. Not pretentious in the least. Very well-grounded and just an interesting person to talk to.”
I was a news reporter at The Suburban under Stone’s guidance in the mid 1980s. While I had not seen him in many years in person, I was able to catch some of his acting gigs on commercials and TV shows. Stone Story, which debuted five years ago on the big screen, showed Stone living with a rotating cast of roommates in the same Mile End apartment for four decades.
What attracted producer Jean-André Fourestié to this story was the fact that Martin Stone chose freedom. In 1966, he took his young daughters, Deborah and Jacqueline, and hit the road on a six-year adventure with America’s wildest hippie community, the Hog Farm. Five decades later, he and his girls lived very separate lives. Stone remained true to his counterculture beliefs, living with young roommates who dug his alternative vibe in a run-down Mile-End apartment on St. Urbain Street in Montreal that acted as a commune of sorts. For Stone, being a hippie wasn’t a phase; it was a way of life.
“When Jean-André first approached me with his idea for a film about me and my life I was a bit thunderstruck,” Stone told me in 2016. “You could say I was awed, flattered, and honoured, but also aghast. A plethora of thoughts and feelings ran quickly through me and my first inclination was to say ‘no way!’ But as he began to lay out his concept, I could see that the under riding theme was not necessarily me, but rather my approach to this life experience and what I hope to have accomplished during my sojourn here on planet earth.”
Jean-André Fourestié posted on Facebook following Stone’s passing.
“One day I asked him, if God existed, what he would say to him when he saw him, he replied: “Wow, it was quite a trip! “I’m glad I was able to share the trip for a little while with him. Now we have all the wonderful moments we all shared with him and god knows there are! Let’s keep them alive!
“Peace, love and good vibes.”
Stone worked as a an actor for about 25 years and appeared in some 400 different productions. In recent years Stone was semi-retired and did some work as a doorman/security at a large high-rise apartment in the suburbs.
We reconnected soon after the film. When I posted the photo of a kitten I was having a hard time adopting, Stone answered the call and gave little Georgie a warm home. I am glad to hear his roommates are taking care of the feline.
Rest in peace Martin.
With files from Joel Goldenberg