Cover photo for Juanita Stone's Obituary
Juanita Stone Profile Photo

Juanita Stone

d. May 31, 2018

Juanita Sellers Stone was born in Carrolton, Georgia, the second child of Samuel Garrett Sellers and Lilla Anderson Sellers. With her loving sister, the late Dr. Blanche Sellers Lavizzo, she grew up in Atlanta, earning her Bachelor of Arts from Spelman College. From there, Mrs. Stone went on to receive a Masters of Arts from Columbia University in New York, and did advanced studies at the University of Washington in Seattle, Washington. Mrs. Stone was the Morehouse College home coming queen, “Miss. Maroon and White,” in 1948. She became a member Delta Sigma Theta Sorority in the New York chapter in 1949, and she proudly established the Savannah State University chapter. Mrs. Stone’s early professional career was dedicated to education. She taught at Savannah State University, Savannah, Georgia; at Florida A&M University, Tallahassee, Florida; and at Somerset Laboratory School, Princess Ann, Maryland, Easter Shore. In 1953, Mrs. Stone was resoundingly voted teacher of the year at Savannah State University. For a time, Mrs. Stone also served as a social worker in Houlton, Maine. In 1970, Mrs. Stone began a second career--as President of Sellers Brothers, Inc., Funeral Directors and Morticians, in Atlanta. A third generation family business, Sellers Brothers opened its doors in 1920 in Carrollton, Georgia. By 1927 the business had expanded to Atlanta under the leadership of Mrs. Stones’ father, Samuel Garrett Sellers, and his brothers, James Horace, John William and Walter A. Sellers. Under Mrs. Stone’s continuing guidance, Sellers Brothers went on to provide service with dignity to Atlanta for nearly a century.

Mrs. Stone was a Trustee at West Hunter Street Baptist Church and a Leader of the Lilla Sellers Circle of the Missionary Union. One of her dearest and proudest associations was being a life-long member of West Hunter Baptist Church, the church of her baptism. Her community activities were numerous, including serving on the Board of Directors of Citizens Trust Bank, Chestnut Hill Cemetery, and South View Cemetery. She was secretary of the Carrie Steele-Pitts Home Board of Trustees and served on the Board of Counselors of the Georgia State University Gerontology Center. Mrs. Stone was also a member of the Atlanta Chapter of Top Ladies of Distinction, Inc.; Girl Friends; Smart Set; and Jack and Jill. Throughout her associations with these distinguished organizations, Mrs. Stone took leadership positions in countless projects and activities. Mrs. Stone served untiringly in her professional organizations.One her most distinctive and historic professional positions was being the first woman president of the Georgia Funeral Service Practitioners Association, Inc. She has received numerous community honors and professional awards, including Iota Phi Lambda Sorority Business Woman of the Year, 1975; National Funeral Director and Embalmer’s Woman of the Year Award, 1976; Pioneer Award for longstanding distinguished service to the community by the Atlanta Business League, Women in Business, 1981, Spelman Enterprise Award in 1996; recognition for service from the Young Adult Guidance Center; and the Atlanta Peach Chapter of American Business Women Association Citizenship Award, 1992.

A devoted and loving wife and mother, Mrs. Stone was married to Dr. Vernon Wayland Stone for 49 years. She is survived by her children, daughter Joy Alinda Stone Tillison (Tony Tillison,), and son, Keith Garrett Stone, (Lisa Randolph Stone). She is also survived by grandchildren: Tal Vernon Tillison, Taj Juanita Tillison, Tyler Tennell Tillison, Toni Tyrell Tillison, Keilaya Elise Stone, Alesia Andrea Stone Murphy (Greg), Andrew Garrett Stone; and great grandchildren: Thailand Tillison, and Daniel Murphy and Aaliyah Murphy. Her surviving nephews and nieces are Valcour Garrett Lavizzo, Risa Juanita Lavizzo-Mourey (Bob LavizzoMourey), Philip Lavizzo (Marianna Lavizzo), and Evelyn Lavizzo. Great niece and nephew: Rel LavizzoMourey and Max Lavizzo-Mourey. Great-greatneice and nephew: Jada Wells and Mason Hanton. Among her surviving cousins are Mary Sellers Welche, Velma Tecola Farmer, Helen Wilson, and Henry Harrison Anderson, III. Other surviving family members include: Dr. T.J. and Lois Anderson and Family (Atlanta), Patricia Bishop and Family (Atlanta), Anna Tilman (Oakland, CA), Juanita Stone (Oakland, CA), Donald Stone (Oakland, CA), Lotus Smith (Byran, MS), Inga Tillison Hodge (Byran, MS) Patricia Bishop, Avery Randolph, Robbie Monroe and Family, Onie Jordan and Family, Clara White (Atlanta), Linda Adams (Atlanta), Mary Milner and family (Atlanta), Carol Bridges (Washington, DC), Omari Hakeem (Atlanta), and Shirley Patrick.


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