On Thursday, March 16th, 2023, the Lee’s Summit community of Kansas, Missouri, woke up to devastating news. Rachel Stone, a well-known teacher at Lee’s Summit High School (LSHS), had died following a gruesome road accident.
On that sad fateful morning, a Coca-Cola Freightliner traveling on US Highway 50, Missouri Route 7, lost control, veered off the road, and crossed onto the incoming traffic.
Mrs. Stone, driving a Chevrolet Malibu presumably to work, was hit head-on by the Freightliner.
According to a report by Missouri State Highway Patrol, the driver of the Freightliner, Mr. Travis Hargadine, who suffered minor injuries, said the accident was due to heavy ice on the road, leading to him losing control of the vehicle.
Sadly, Mrs. Stone died on the spot, as per the Southern Jackson County EMS report.
Communicating the sad news to the school community, Lee’s Summit High School Principal Kari Harrison sent the following email to the parents and staff of the school (As reported by khsb.com and kmbc.com): “It is with a heavy heart that I share devastating news with our students and families. Mrs Rachel Stone, a physical education and health teacher who was a valued part of our Tiger family, died this morning following a car accident on Highway 50…..”
Rachel Stone: A Career Educator and Coach
Rachel Stone has been hailed as a dedicated teacher and school coach with a career spanning over 25 years.
In the communication to the school community, the principal said, “…Mrs Stone student-taught in LSR7 in 1997 and then began her career in the LSHS community in 2000. In addition to teaching, Mrs Stone served as the girl’s assistant volleyball coach….” (kmbc.com)
Students in her class had nothing but kind words about their deceased teacher. In her tribute, one of the students, Jaylee Bake, said, “Always made it fun because like she taught health and you know there’s some awkward subjects in there, but she made it easy to learn…”(Courtesy of Fox4kc.com).
Shelley Slavens, a parent in the school, said, “Mrs Stone was my daughter Laura’s Health teacher and was a fantastic teacher. She was so friendly and engaged in talking with parents & students. I am so sorry for your family’s loss; prayers to her husband and kids. Future LSHS students will miss out on a great teacher and so thankful for all her years of service to the district and its students.”(Courtesy of Langsford Funeral Home).
Rachel Stone was the assistant coach of the LSHS girl’s volleyball team, the Tigerettes. In her tribute to the fallen teacher, the head coach, Ashlee Blake, said, “I can’t see something like that happening to her….She was just the most genuine person. She would just always make us laugh, have a good time at practice….” (Fox4kc.com).
Rachel Stone: Tribute From the Community
Rachel Stone was a very active member of the community. She was a member of the Summit Lanes Bowling Club and Lee’s Summit Community Church.
From the Summit Lanes Lee’s Summit Facebook page, tributes and condolences all hailed Mrs. Stone as a supportive member, with her loss being a heartfelt and sober occasion in the community.
Members of the bowling club had the following to say about Rachel: (Courtesy of the Facebook page).
“Incredibly sorry and saddened by this loss. Prayers to Judy and her family, as well as all the students, educators and friends of Rachel.” Rackel Nichols.
“Rachel always had a smile for everyone!!! She and her mom and family helped make Summit Lanes the best place for all who shared the love of bowling and friendship.” Patricia Whiteside.
“I am soo very sorry, my heart is broken and I pray for you all! She was a good friend, great mother, and educator…” Carrie J Ginther-Melton.
The thousands of condolence messages at the Longsford Funeral Home can further attest to Rachel’s exemplary role in the community.
Jessica Kirby said, “Rachel often stopped in at my work. It was always a bright spot in my day when she stopped. I really enjoyed chatting with her while I rang her up. My heart was very sad when I heard she had passed. The world sure is dimmer without her and I’m certain Heaven is brighter. Prayers for her family and all those she left behind.”
Rachel’s neighbors, Brad and Tara McDaniel, had this to say, “Rachel was beautiful inside and out. We got to know her from living in our neighborhood. She was lots of fun to be around. We enjoyed getting together for the Fourth of July and birthday parties for the kids. She has such a kind heart. She touched many lives and we are blessed for knowing her. We are praying for her family and so very sorry for your loss. RIP and fly high Rachel.”
Rachel Stone: Life and Family
Rachel Keltner Stone was born in Kansas City, MO, on March 31, 1975. She attended Lee’s Summit Senior High School before pursuing a Bachelor of Science in Education at the Central University of Missouri.
Mrs. Stone started her teaching journey as a student teacher in LSR7 in 1997 before being employed full-time in 2000 by LSHS.
Rachel met and married Scott Stone, a teacher at Bernard Campbell Middle School, and together, they had two children, a daughter Brooke and a son Brayden.
In his tribute to his wife, Mr. Stone said, “Rachel loved God, her family and all her dogs but we sometimes didn’t know in which order. Rachel was the adventurous one. Planning vacations for the family. She loved the beach, 4 wheeling and taking the dogs for a walk/jog. She was always thinking about what they were doing next.”
The Stone family, Lee’s Summit High School, and the wider Lee’s Summit community have lost an important part of their lives. Rachel Keltner Stone will be greatly missed for years to come.