Funeral for Texas Ranger Fan Who Died Trying to Catch a Foul Ball


Stone's death has hit his fire station particularly hard. Each staff member from the Brownwood fire department, where Stone had worked since 1993, attended the funeral; while neighboring Abilene fire station covered their area.

"Like they said at the funeral, he didn't want to operate the pumper," said Rountree. "He wanted to be the first guy into the fire. He was considered a 'fireman's fireman.'" The homepage of Brownwood fire department's web site displayed a picture of Stone smiling in uniform with the simple messag: "You will be missed; and always loved."

Pedro Aravelo from the Arlington Fire Department, the station that initially responded when Stone fell, said what happened has resonated with the larger firefighting community. "With any loss of a firefighter, everyone has to remember we're all like a big family," he said, "and whether we work in the same department or not, when someone is lost it hurts us all." Aravelo said fire departments not just from the Dallas/Fort Worth metro area, but from across Texas and beyond, were represented at the funeral. A battalion chief's vehicle had been dispatched along with members of the fire service honor guard to assist with the service.

The accident has also hit the Rangers team at its heart. President Nolan Ryan described it in a press conference Friday as, "one of the saddest things I've ever seen at a ballpark" and said player Josh Hamilton in particular was "very distraught." Rangers press director John Blake said the situation had been "devastatin" to the entire team, who wore black ribbons on their uniforms at a game on the weekend against the Oakland A's, observed a minute of silence and flew all flags at half staff in honor of Stone.

Blake asserts safety is a top priority for the Rangers, and said although the railings over which Stone fell exceed code, plans were nevertheless in motion to meet with contractors, architects and city officials to do a thorough examination of the ballpark. Asked if he had a message for fans attempting, as Stone did, to catch foul balls, Blake said: "Baseball is a very fan friendly sport and the idea of coming to catch a ball is all part of it… and always will be." But, he said, they are urging players to be "prudent."

The Rangers have launched a memorial fund for Stone's family; and urged anyone wishing to donate funds to do so at the Rangers Foundation Kiosk at Arlington, online at, or at any DFW Metroplex PlainsCapital Bank location. The Rangers themselves will make an unspecified flat contribution to the fund, and additionally will match player and employee offerings up to $250 per donation. The Oakland A's also contributed $5,000. The City of Brownwood, along with the fire department, has also set up a fund, details of which can be found on the fire department homepage.

A funeral program described Stone's many accomplishments… in addition to an exemplary firefighting record, Stone worked as a peace officer, an EMT and as a rescue technician at the Texas Motor Speedway. He also took part in disaster relief after hurricanes Ike and Katrina.

Rountree said Stone even helped in the 9/11 cleanup effort in New York City. But his biggest source of pride was his son, who went with him everywhere. He described Stone as an "excellent person but probably a better dad."

Perhaps one of Stone's biggest accomplishments was one he achieved posthumously…. written on the funeral program, under a photo of Stone grinning in front of a fire truck, it read simply; "Shannon was an organ donor, who benefitted over 40 lives, and gave the gift of sight."

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