A ROCK climbing pioneer and well-known community stalwart lost his battle with cancer earlier this month.
Michael Stone was 77 when he passed away on March 19, six years after he was diagnosed with prostate and bladder cancer.
He is survived by his wife Janet, children Peter, Jennifer and Catherine, son-in-laws Garrath and Peter and grandchildren Chelsea, James, Oscar and Charlotte.
Mr Stone was appointed as a magistrate in 1996 and held positions at Ballarat and Frankston before he and his wife Janet returned to Warrnambool in 2006, where he was a magistrate until his retirement in 2008.
Prior to this he was a partner at Warrnambool's Desmond, Dunne and Dwyer (now Dunne Robinson).
Mr Stone was born in Bangalore, India to Emma and John Stone.
He lived in India, Ireland and Pakistan before moving to Melbourne in 1952 as a 10-year-old.
Mr Stone attended Mont Albert Primary and Scotch College before studying law at Melbourne University.
He worked at a Melbourne law firm for a couple of years before his interest in rock climbing took him to Europe in early 1966.
There he drove a VW Kombi van from London to India to meet an Australian climbing friend.
He spent four years in Europe working in the UK in the winters and climbing on the continent in the summers.
Mr Stone climbed the Italian Dolomites, the Western Alps around Mt Blanc.
It 1968, he was introduced to Janet Allsop, who he married in Oswestry Shropshire, England, the following year.
Mr Stone was a sport's lover and one of his greatest legacies was helping to establish Mt Arapiles as a world-renowned rock climbing destination.
He co-wrote the first Mt Arapiles guide book in 1966 and established hundreds of climbs there and in the Grampians and Mount Buffalo.
During his time in Warrnambool he played squash, tennis, hockey and golf.
He played and coached the men's and women's Warrnambool United hockey teams, leading them to three premierships.
Mr Stone took up golf with great enthusiasm, but said he did so "with not a lot of skill".
Despite this he whittled his handicap from 22 to 14 in 12 months and then played off 11 or 12 for most of his remaining golf career.
Mr Stone was on numerous committees at the golf club and was president in 1991 and 1992.
He was the chairman of the Warrnambool Institute of Advanced Education discipline board and remained on the board when it was taken over by Deakin University.
Mr Stone was also asked to establish the Warrnambool Base Hospital's ethics committee.
He was heavily involved in the Warrnambool Wine and Food Society from the time he arrived in Warrnambool - attending dinners until a few months before his death.
When Mr and Mrs Stone returned to Warrnambool in 2006 they were involved with the Warrnambool Whales Swimming Club.
Mr Stone was also on the Warrnambool Art Gallery's finance committee and was an active member of Birdlife Warrnambool.
He will be laid to rest at Eastern Park Chapel in Verdon Street on Friday, March 29 at 2pm. All welcome.