Rocky Stoneburner, Q.E.P.D.

Few of the Red Shoes are Better than Bacon readership may have known him, but one of the last of Morelia’s expats who hailed from The Greatest Generation transitioned to greener pastures two days ago.

Rocky Stoneburner, whose parents had named him Ivan, died at the age of 93 at his home in San Antonio, Texas, where he’d retired after decades of active life in Morelia.  A Jack Mormon originally from Pocatello, Idaho, which he’d characterized as so desolate that jackrabbits would pack a lunch, Rocky headed off during his younger days to protect the Pacific Coast during World War II and then on to protect the ranks of the working man as a Teamster leader.

He never pretended to be an intellectual, but he was one of those kinds who just knew everything about everything. He knew his prices, he knew where to get the best deals in town, and he knew the movers and shakers in this town and all around. He was the kind of guy everyone needed to know. He could get a quick read on people, and he knew how to galvanize them. He could talk to anyone, from the humblest of the humble right up to the titans of industry. And he had the best manners of any foreigner around. He might not’ve been a scholar, but he was everyone’s gentleman.

Rocky may well have been the last man on the planet to willingly wear a leisure suit. And then there was his ball cap. He didn’t care; he dressed to suit himself.

There was a time in Mexico, back in the pre-Costco, pre-NAFTA days, when things like VCRs and German sausages weren’t easy to come by. Rocky could be counted upon to import and deliver exotic and rare items, reasonably priced, from Laredo, where he’d zip up in those pre-cuota days in his white Suburban just as casually as we might drive over to Patzcuaro today.

Want a referral to the best electrician in town? Call Rocky. The best chili recipe around? That was Rocky’s. And so was his barbequed brisket.

He knew construction, mechanics, electronics, and how things worked. He was blessed with the kind of magic that meant he could simply glance at something and make it work again. He had a power tool collection that was the envy of the community. I couldn’t begin to count the number of times I borrowed his battery charger. From how to train a dog to you-name-it, Rocky knew, and he was generous with his opinions and expertise, always ready to help in any situation.

“You ought to be ashamed of yourself for letting your car get so dirty,” he would chide, shaming me into washing the car.

“Wear plaid or tan if you’re going to a Mexican fiesta,” he instructed, because they’ll undoubtedly be serving mole, and it’ll hide the stains.

For years, I carried a Costco card with Ivan Stoneburner’s name as the titular.

And then there were the horseradish plants he’d given my mother. Countless times I would try to eradicate them, but they persisted, nagging me to remember their origin. I’ve given cuttings of that horseradish to many people, so there’s still a little bit of Rocky growing all over Michoacán.

He is survived by his wife, Joaquina.

Rocky, you were a one of a kind. And you are missed.

13 comments on “Rocky Stoneburner, Q.E.P.D.

  1. dlgmex says:

    Nice and kind thoughts… the world needs more like Rocky Stoneburner… good job


  2. Don Cuevas says:

    We are proud to own a pair of his horseradish plants. I would have liked to have met him.

    Don Cuevas


  3. Patzman says:

    “Wear plaid or tan” for the mole. What memories! My mom had our pre marriage party at her house nob 15 yrs ago. Her cleaning lady served mole since my bride is from Mexico. Also a piñata for the kids. My PIA brother in law wore a white shirt. I can still hear him screaming about the mole stains on his shirt.


  4. babsofsanmiguel says:

    LOVE individualistic people who march to their own drums…….kinda like you my dear Jennifer. Glad you knew him and told us about him! Thanks for telling us……….


  5. Tancho says:

    We are a steward of his horseradish plant also. It’s not often that you meet an Renaissance man, especially in today’s world where the only vocation is sitting at a gaming console…


  6. NORM says:

    Am obit that any man would be proud of, sorry for your loss.


  7. Very nice report. Sounds like a very notable fellow. Anybody who marries a woman named Joaquina is all right.


  8. Steve Cotton says:

    About 7 years ago, you told me my plan of auditioning places in Mexico 6 months at a time was a terrible idea — because no one would invest time in getting to know someone who would be around for such a short period of time. You were correct. You can’t be the next Rocky Stoneburner by being a transient. Of course, I would settle simply for being the next Steve Cotton.

    Nice piece.


  9. john v. wylie says:

    Great final on Rocky….he was one-of-a-kind, and an admirable human.
    I visited him several times in San Antonio, and saw him often during his
    later years in Morelia.


  10. Rick says:

    Rocky was a dear friend and fingerprinter. He was always ready to sign up for an event. At the monthly meetings of the Public Safety Team (PST) he always saved me a seat beside him.He was a true gentlemanm of the first order.. I still have the Air Condition Company (Magic Climate) he recommended and am very pleased with them.


  11. Becky says:

    Rocky was a true gentleman and could make anybody feel comfortable around him. He charmed me during our VIP events, and charmed my daughter, enough that she would ask after him if we were at an event somewhere and he was not there. God has gained a beautiful companion. He will be missed here!


  12. Elvira Arrieta says:

    Rocky was one of a kind. To me he was a Saint. Good bye Kid. I’ll miss your friendship.


  13. wkaliher says:

    I was just able to read this post–hope someone thinks enough of me one of these days to give me such a salute—would have enjoyed meeting your friend rocky bill


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