Aubry L. Stone, an advocate for black-owned businesses in Sacramento and across the state, died on Wednesday.
His death was announced by the California Black Chamber of Commerce which he founded in 1995 with five others to help support black-owned firms in the state. Stone succumbed to small-cell lung cancer after being diagnosed in February, said Michael Brett Stone, his oldest son.
Stone’s advocacy at the state capitol included the push to create opportunities for black businesses in government contracting and fighting to remove discriminatory underwriting policies by insurance companies.
“Aubry Stone has been a dedicated leader of the California Black Chamber. He was a passionate advocate for African American business,” Patricia Watts, California Black Chamber of Commerce Board Director, said in a prepared statement.
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“His work with corporations, elected officials and the black business community helped to drive economic growth and create opportunities for our members. He is a pillar and a force that will be sorely missed.”
Stone served on numerous boards in the state and operated 97.5 KDEE-FM one of the few black-owned radio stations, according to the chamber’s news release. At many of the meetings he attended Stone was fond of saying: “Fifty percent of winning is showing up.”
A U.S. Air Force veteran, Stone arrived in Sacramento with his wife and two children in 1978 after living in Europe. He worked for a time at private companies before shifting into business advocacy.
In his downtime, Aubry relished a good game of golf and was an avid reader of world history, Michael said. “I remember he had us as little guys going to the golf courses on the bases and in Europe,” he said.
Stone was born in Panama City, Fla. before moving as a child to Birmingham, Ala., and then Brooklyn, N.Y. He would have been a part of the first generation of black Americans to emerge from southern sharecropping and migrate north, said his son Mark Stone.
“Whenever he said he was a country boy at heart he wasn’t lying, he was. It just happened to be by way of Brooklyn,” Mark said. “His first impressions of life were of country life, slow living in Birmingham.”