Stuart Jones was in Oregon visiting his daughter, Dana, when "a whole yard full of Marines showed up," he said. "I knew right then what had happened."
As the newspaper in Oregon would later read, "A bullet cut through the air and pierced the neck of Lance Corporal Steven Anthony Stacey."
Dana's son, Steven Stacey, who was serving in the U.S. Marines, had been killed.
The Marines went with the family to the restaurant where Dana worked, called her outside, and told her that her son had been killed in Iraq -- shot through the neck by a sniper's bullet. They had rushed him to a medic, but it was too late. "Those people in that cafe are still waiting for their food," Stuart said, "because Dana never went back inside."
To lose a son is heartbreaking. To lose him while he was in the service of his country -- a United States Marine rifleman -- helps a little, if you believe a war in a foreign country is necessary. But he died so young, just 23. His life had not really yet begun.
Steven Anthony Stacey was born March 21, 1984 in Yuma. He is the son of Robert Potts and Dana (Jones) Potts. His biological father was Duane Stacey, but Robert Potts raised him, according to his mother. Steven graduated from Sweet Home High School in 2003. He was a licensed scuba diver and taught scuba diving before joining the Marine Corps.
He died July 5, 2007 in Kharma, Iraq.
He is survived by his parents, Robert and Dana Potts, and three sisters, Crystal, April and Hallie, all of Oregon; grandparents, Stuart and Sara Jones of Payson and Bruce and Nancy McCloud of Oregon. Other Payson relatives include his aunt, Peggy Randall of Pine, his uncle, Lee Jones, and his aunt, Dixie Jones of Payson, and many cousins.
Funeral services will be held Saturday in Coos Bay, Ore. Steven will receive full military honors, including a 21-gun salute. His mother will receive the Purple Heart.
Steven Stacey is a descendent of one of Payson's oldest pioneer families.
Great-grandfathers, Dick Robbins and Bud Jones, have left behind a tough family -- one that can deal with tragedy when tragedy knocks. They would be so proud of this great-grandson who gave his life trying to defend his country. His great-great-grandfather, Elwood Pyle, would feel the same.
Bud Jones, who married Myrth Pyle Jones (daughter of Elwood Pyle), had three children -- Lee, Stuart, and Peggy (Randall). Dick Robbins married Datie Journigan Barkdoll with daughter, Renee, and had two daughters, Annie and Nancy. Bud's son, Stuart Jones, and Dick's daughter, Nancy Robbins, were married and had two children -- Dana and Ben. Stuart and Nancy divorced.
Stuart then married Sara Holder Morris and still lives in Payson. Stuart can be found at the Beeline Cafe almost any weekday morning, talking about cowboying, the lack of rain, Payson's growth and local politics.
He is usually sitting with Billy Hardt, a descendant of two other old families -- the Belluzzis and the Hardts.
Nancy Robbins Jones was married to Steve O'Brien for more than 30 years, and moved to Oregon. She is now married to Bruce McCloud.
Although Dana and Ben lived in Arizona a few years with their parents, they have mostly lived in Oregon.
Even though they are far from the home of their families who helped settle the Payson area, they keep in close touch.