Steve Stone Coral Reef Foundation

About the Foundation


Coral Reefs of Today

Hawaiian Coral Reefs

Hawaiian Reef Fauna:

The Architects of Reef Structures

Geologic History of Reef Construction


About the Steve Stone Coral Reef Foundation©

Our Mission

The foundation is organized exclusively for charitable, educational, and scientific purposes, including the purposes of providing education, research, and scholarship for marine biology and scuba instruction, as well as opportunities for low income youth; assisting in the preservation or restoration of coral reefs particularly offshore of Maui, Hawaii, and in furtherance of such purposes; the making of distributions to organizations that qualify as exempt organizations under section 501(c)(3) of the Internal Revenue Code of 1954, or the corresponding provision of any future United States Internal Revenue Law.

The Foundation and its Activities

The Steve Stone Coral Reef Foundation is dedicated to education and the preservation of the coral reefs surrounding Maui, Hawaii. We are a 501(c)(3) charitable foundation that will carry out the work that Steve Stone started during his lifetime for appreciation and caring of the many wonders of nature, particularly the coral reefs of Maui. Steve loved his coral reefs. He was a scuba instructor, Dive Master, and an educator of the important role that the coral reefs play in the world's ecosystem. Steve's life influenced others to help preserve the natural beauty of the Earth.

SSCRF activities:

  1. To develop a coral reef educational website for the foundation
  2. To establish scuba and snorkel instruction camps for low income and/or at-risk youth with educational benefits for the preservation of coral reef environments
  3. To develop criteria for scholarships for marine biology students focused on coral reef studies
  4. To establish scholarships for the University of Hawaii QUEST program focused on monitoring species and data collection concerning the health of coral reefs
  5. To fund and participate in beach and reef cleanup projects
  6. To work with communities to identify and rectify environmental problems that endanger the health of coral reef environments of Maui

Biography of Steven Jay Stone

Steve Jay Stone's life was deeply rooted in the prairie and mountains of Kansas and Colorado where he learned to appreciate nature and all the beauty and wonders it has to offer. He dedicated himself to showing others in the world his fascination with nature by completing a college degree in Natural Resources – Recreation and Tourism at Colorado State University. His internship with Whitewater Mountain Descents cemented his desire to teach others about nature's wonders while being stewards in its protection. He had truly found his passion in Maui, Hawaii, as a scuba diving instructor and manager at Maui Dive Shop where he was a champion for teaching and leading others to appreciate the coral reef environments and how important they are in our world today.

The Early Years

Steve was born May 17, 1979 in Kansas. The son of Professors James (Jim) Moore Stone and Martha Barnes Stone, PhD, he lived his first ten years just outside of Manhattan, KS in Riley County with miles of farmland and prairie at his backdoor. With his younger brother, Christopher Mark Stone, he spent his early youth exploring the outdoor wonders at hand. They had their first taste of geology and mineral collecting with their father finding geodes in the stream that ran through the field behind their house.

His formal education began at Marlatt Elementary School where he experienced kindergarten through 4th grade. He made many friends and enjoyed interacting with them one-on-one as well as playing on baseball, soccer, basketball, and football teams. As Steve progressed, he taught his brother Chris (three years his junior) the ways of life. They truly became best friends, a bond that would never be broken.

The Colorado Years

Steve moved with his family to Fort Collins, Colorado, in 1989. He completed the 5th and 6th grades at Shepardson Elementary School, then attended Boltz Junior High School, and graduated from Fort Collins High School in 1997. He became a member of First United Methodist Church. These years were ones of discovery, learning, maturing, love, and the development of lifelong friendships. During these years, he experienced life with a variety of jobs, concerts, hiking, camping, skiing, snowboarding, skateboarding, mineral collecting, and attending a variety of events with his many friends and family.

He graduated from Colorado State University with a B.S. degree in Natural Resources utilized in Recreation and Tourism and completed an internship in whitewater rafting at Mountain Whitewater Descents. The internship allowed him to learn all phases of the business and perform the many functions necessary to run a rafting business. While he was there, he constructed a nature trail and identified the plants and trees for others to learn about and enjoy. He rafted the Salmon River, also known as "The River of No Return," all the way across Idaho and into Oregon along the Snake River on one of his trips. During this 2 ½ week trip, they traveled along the river away from civilization, and they lived a no trace, leave no footprint style of camping. His love for preserving the natural beauty of our wildernesses became a mission for Steve as he went through his life.

Although he loved the mountains of Colorado, he also fell in love with the ocean during his travels to places such as California, Oregon, Washington, Florida, South Padre Island, Cozumel, and the Cayman Islands. His first scuba dive was in Cozumel. When he returned to Colorado, he almost immediately signed up for his first scuba course while he was still attending CSU. Shortly after his graduation, the opportunity came to go to Hawaii.

The Maui Years

Steve moved to Maui in 2005 and soon became employed at Maui Dive Shop in South Kihei. He rose quickly as a team leader in sales and was recognized as management potential. He became an expert in dive equipment sales and trained many of the shop's employees at the headquarters store before they were assigned positions in the many shops around the island. Steve became a certified dive instructor and led scuba trips for beginning and experienced divers. He completed over 350 scuba dives including most of the coral reefs surrounding Maui. He took people to underwater lava tubes inhabited by reef sharks. He hung out with sea turtles, hammerhead sharks, manta rays, spotted eagle rays, moray eels, and thousands of other vertebrate and invertebrate sea creatures in the ocean. His dives also included sunken ships, a WWII aircraft, and the back wall of Molokini Crater, one of the premier coral reef sanctuaries of Maui.

He enjoyed the mountains, the ocean, spending time with his family and friends, music concerts, snorkeling, scuba diving, zip-line touring, traveling to new places, the beautiful view of paradise from his lanai, and all that life had to offer. He will be remembered for his kindness and consideration for others, quick wit, fun-loving, adventurous spirit, and his genuine appreciation of life and nature.

Steve died December 3rd, 2010. Hundreds of friends participated in three memorial services held in Colorado, Hawaii, and Tennessee. In Fort Collins, a traditional memorial service was attended by over 150 friends at Allnutt Funeral Chapel on Saturday, December 11th, 2010.

"Steve — A Life Worth Celebrating" was hosted by his friends from 6:00 p.m. to 6:00 a.m. after the memorial service. Highlights included a show with over 400 pictures of Steve with his family and friends repeating in the background, live DJ, laser lights and fog, commemorative T-shirts and hoodies, silk leis, and a video area for participants to tell stories about their relationship with Steve and how he had impacted their lives. A memorial service also was held in Union City, Tennessee, at the Pleasant Valley Methodist Church on Sunday, December 19th with over a hundred friends and relatives in attendance. On the day of Steve's death his Maui family gathered for an impromptu service at the Kamole 3, his favorite beach to watch the sunset. Maui friends also held a Wreath to the Ocean ceremony on Sunday, December 12th, at Kamole 3 Beach in Kihei where a paddle out began at 4:30 p.m. for paddle boards, surfboards, and kayaks. Participants brought leis made from native tea leaves and flowers to collectively release into the ocean at sunset. Music, barbecue, videos, slide shows, sharing stories, and a champagne toast were part of this Celebration of Life for Steve. On May 17th, 2011 (Steve's Birthday), his parents hosted a memorial service with Steve's Maui family on Maui Dive Shop's flagship sail boat, the Ali'i Nui. Steve's ashes were released at the back wall of Molokini Crater, Steve's favorite diving location. Flower petals were scattered as the catamaran slowly backed away from the wall.

His surviving family members are his parents Jim and Martha Stone and brother Christopher Mark Stone of Fort Collins; grandparents James Isaac and Dora Stone and uncle Jeffery O'Neil Stone of Union City, Tennessee. He was preceded in death by his maternal grandparents, the late Reverend George C. and Minnie Barnes of Big Sandy, Tennessee and his uncle William C. Barnes of Paris, Tennessee.

Steve's generosity continued after his death as an organ donor. Two people in Hawaii received the gift of sight through his corneas and a countless number of people benefited from tissue transplants. God bless you, Steve, for all the lives you have touched and for the many more that will benefit from your foundation!


We would like to extend our gratitude to Kathrine Lindeman, Jim Dingman, and Harold Giger, who were personal friends and professional associates of Steve, and who have enthusiastically granted permission to present their professional photographs of the reef life of Maui that you see on this website. We would equally like to extend our gratitude to Professor Thomas J. Griffin, MS Geology, who knew Steve from childhood, for his extensive work researching and authoring the educational content presented on this website. This website would not have been possible without the dedicated professional efforts of Bob Wardell, our awesome web designer.