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Jack Tone Ranch matriarch Marjory F. Tone dies at 95

Tone remembered as humble, kind; known for horses around the globe

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Marjory F. Tone, when she was 16 years old, according to granddaughter Margie Pope.

Posted: Tuesday, November 16, 2010 12:00 am | Updated: 6:17 am, Tue Nov 16, 2010.

The Jack Tone Ranch lost its matriarch, who raised champion Arabian horses, on Thursday when Marjory Francis Woodworth Tone died at the age of 95.

Tone and her husband, the late Jack "Bud" Tone, ran the family ranch since they married in 1932. Bud Tone grew up on the ranch, located along the Calaveras River between Live Oak and Eight Mile roads.

In 1952, the Tones began breeding purebred Arabian horses from a stallion Bud purchased for his wife's birthday. The stallion, Fadjur, put Jack Tone Ranch on the world map, according to a family biography. He became the leading sire of Arabian horses for 10 years straight and the leading living sire of champion Arabian horses in the United States.

Jack Tone Ranch was also home to Saki, the leading living dam of champion Arabian horses in the United States.

Fadjur and Saki, who produced hundreds of champion descendants, were honored as living legends of the breed. They were inducted into the Arabian Horse Hall of Fame. They were discovered and chosen by Marjory Tone as young, unknown and unproven horses.

"She was a very humble person," said Father Michael Kelly, of St. Joachim's Catholic Church in Lockeford. "No one who would meet her would know of the wonderful achievements she's had raising and breeding horses. At the same time, she was a strong lady."

Marjory Tone's achievements resulted in her receiving invitations by dignitaries from Morocco, Saudi Arabia and Pakistan, her granddaughter said.

In the 1980s, Prince Moulay Abdallah, of Morocco, invited the Tone family to the prince's castle.

"They invited us for over a week and wouldn't let us open our purse," Pope said. "My mother sat at the table at his right hand. That was a wonderful time."

In early 1994, Pakistani President Sardar Farooq Ahmad Khan Leghari visited the Jack Tone Ranch, and this year, the prince and princess of Saudi Arabia invited the Tones to a Kentucky horse park. Pope and her sister attended on Marjory Tone's behalf.

Today, the ranch has about 60 Arabian horses, plus others that are not Arabian, Pope said. They had close to 200 Arabians in the 1970s.

In 2009, Marjory Tone and several family members were at Cal Expo in Sacramento, where they were honored by the California Agricultural Heritage Club for Jack Tone Ranch being in agribusiness for 160 years. Then-Lt. Gov. John Garamendi was one of the presenters.

The ranch is known to be the "oldest continuous horse breeding ranch to be owned and run by the same family" in California, Pope said.

Marjory and Bud Tone met when she umpired her brothers' baseball game against Bud's team near Stockton, Pope said. He didn't even mind the umpire's questionable calls because she was so beautiful and he loved her irresistible spirit, Pope said.

"She was the kindest, gentlest person, but had the strongest character," Pope said. "She focused in the moment on doing the small things well. She gave us so much love and attention. She had such incredible faith in God."

Pope recalled Father Kelly quoting Mother Theresa at Sunday's Mass at St. Joachim's: "Be faithful in small things because it is in them that your strength lies."

"It spoke so clearly to how Granny was," Pope said. "She lived every moment by these guidelines."

Pope said she was the first family member to attend college, on her mother's encouragement.

While Marjory tended to her Arabians, her husband Bud focused on farming at the ranch. He was also a national champion handball player and president of the Stockton-East Water District board of directors.

"She loved her work and required that everything be done right," Pope said of her grandmother. "She didn't set out to make a lot of money, She didn't set out to impress anyone."

Contact reporter Ross Farrow at rossf@lodinews.com.

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