Father Lee Owen Stone

“When you’re working with an individual, you get down to his personal needs. You never know where you are when you’re groping around in a sermon.” – Fr. L.O. Stone

Father Lee Owen Stone began his journey to become the first Vicar of St. Philip the Deacon Episcopal Church in 1903 on a small farm in Fayette county, Kentucky. After graduating from Chandler Normal high school he attended Ohio State University as an engineering major. In 1936, when the depression hit and his father passed away, Stone moved back to Kentucky because money for his schooling had ran out. He found work at the Kentucky House of Reform for juvenile delinquents, which lead him to his decision to go into ministry.

In 1933, at age 30, Stone began studying at Bishop Bayne Divinity School in Petersburg, Virginia and was ordained for the diocese of Lexington in the same year. Unfortunately, there were no openings at any churches in the area, so he was forced to look elsewhere. He chose to write a letter to the diocese of Oregon because he believed the Northwest, “…was still a new country where ideas hadn’t been crystallized.” Stone was eventually offered the position at St. Philip’s with a stipend of $50, which did not include house or transportation. Father Lee Owen Stone conducted his first service on the first Sunday of August 1936.

During his 36 year tenure at St. Philip’s, Fr. Stone was one of the founders of the Urban League Portland, completed his college work at Lewis and Clark College, accomplished some graduate work at the Oregon Extension School and Union Seminary in New York city, worked with many local agencies, was on the board of the NAACP Portland chapter, served as the President of the Albina Neighborhood Council, served as the senior priest of the diocese and founded the St. Philip’s Preschool.

Until Next Time,
Hannah (Student Intern)

Magmer, James. “Father Stone Has His Own ‘Upward  Bound’ Program.” Northwest Magazine, July 28, 1968.

St. Philip the Deacon Collection

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