¡Presente! Edward Stonebraker (1960-2024)
Edward Richard Stonebraker, 63, of Girard, Ohio, passed away suddenly at home on January 1, 2024. As a skilled trades worker, Stonebraker was a dedicated member of the labor movement and a committed ally to diverse social movements, both domestically and internationally.
Stonebraker was born on October 29, 1960 in Youngstown, Ohio, to the late Amanda Lee (Starcher) and Richard Eugene Stonebraker, Sr. He attended public schools and graduated from Girard High School before entering the workforce. Known as “Stoney” to friends and colleagues, he was a laborer who worked as a skilled CNC (computer numerical control) machine operator for many decades with several factories. He was proud to be a part of the United Steel Workers union and was previously a Teamsters member.
A loving spouse and parent, Edward and his spouse of 36 years, Trina (Martinez), took joy in their two children and an expansive family throughout the U.S. and beyond, including Trina’s native Colombia. Their elder child, C (Chrissy) Stonebraker-Martinez, who served as co-chair of FOR-USA’s National Council from 2017-2022, has been co-director of the Cleveland-based InterReligious Task Force on Central America and Colombia for the past decade.
In an emotional tribute to their father shortly after his death, Stonebraker-Martinez wrote,
“My father was very supportive of my organizing, activism, and truly my vocational calling. He knew I do my work in honor of my indigenous Emberá ancestors and my working class-farming-laboring Appalachian ancestors from his side of the family. He was my first love and he taught me to love people and love the land. He taught me to be a worker and a comrade (not a snitch, lol), and to be an abolitionist (before we even knew the word). My grief cannot be contained with words. And, my heart feels all that much more deeply for those who have lost multiple family members recently, suddenly and tragically because of genocide, war, famine, and other systemic injustices. We all universally experience love and loss, and yet it is still a very lonely experience, because it is personal and unique.”
C noted that their father believed in both nonviolence and self-defense, which informed their own relentless commitment to liberation of oppressed peoples worldwide. In one cherished memory, Stonebraker-Martinez described giving a speech at a protest and rally in front of the “super-max” prison and immigration detention center in Youngstown, Ohio. Holding a bullhorn and preparing to lead a direct action for migrant justice and abolition, C was flanked by their parents: Trina, like C, wearing a traditional Colombian blouse; Edward holding a handmade sign that said, “We Refuse to Accept a Fascist America!”
Stonebraker enjoyed gardening, relaxing in nature, listening to music, hunting, fishing, playing logic games, watching football, talking religion & politics, and most importantly, spending time with his beloved family and friends over a good meal.