William "Bill" Justin Stephens, Jr.November 26, 1938 ~ November 18, 2017 (age 78)
WILLIAM “BILL” JUSTIN STEPHENS, JR., 78, returned to his heavenly home on Friday November 18, 2017 peacefully in his sleep after a battle with a long illness at his home in Jemison, AL. He was the husband of Evelyn Porter Stephens. On December 24, 2017 they would have celebrated their 57th wedding anniversary. His devotion to his family and his firm belief in God supported him in his struggle and ultimately gave him peace.
Born in East Lake in Birmingham, AL, he was the son of William Justin Stephens, Sr. and Burma Trammell Stephens. Bill’s family moved to Chilton County when he was 11 years old and this became home to their family. He enlisted into the United States Navy at age 17 for three years which was deemed a “kitty cruise” because of his age. He served on the USS Mississinewa as a Shipfitter Petty Officer 3rd Class. At the age of 22 he was employed at Moore Handley in Pelham, AL for 40 years where he developed lifelong friends as an inventory controller until his retirement.
Bill was a member of Jemison First Baptist Church. Because of his illness, he was physically unable to attend services; so on Sundays he regularly watched the Gardendale First Baptist, Dawson Memorial, and Tuscaloosa First Baptist Church services on television. Everyone knew not to call him during this time period, because if you did he quickly told you he was in the middle of his church services. He enjoyed class reunions with his high school classmates and was the person who made it his priority to routinely keep in contact with everyone in his 1956 class about their health and families and initiated a prayer group. He loved watching sports with family and enjoyed the fun rivalry involving his favorite teams which included the New York Yankees, Atlanta Braves, and the Alabama Crimson Tide. He loved to talk and joke with everyone he met.
Bill was blessed with a large and loving family. He helped to rear his children with patience, humility, and discipline. He is survived by: His loving Wife, Evelyn Porter Stephens; Three Children: Janet (Art) Webb, William Bryan Stephens, and David Eugene (Vickie) Stephens; his Grandchildren: Justin Dean Gentry, Lawrence “Larry” Alexander, Lindsay Watts Welch, Kayla (Justin) Mims, and KayDee (Justin) Smith; Great Grandchildren: Victoria Welch, Thomas Welch, and Jackson Mims; Brothers: Richard (Pat) Stephens and Jerry (Jeannie) Stephens; Sisters: Sue Stephens and Becky (Bill) Musgrove; Sister-in-Laws: Jane (J.W.) Sharpe and Sarah (Lynn) Justiss; along with a host of nieces, nephews, and cousins.
He is preceded in death by: Parents, William Justin Stephens, Sr. and Burma Louise Trammell Stephens; and Infant Brother, Larry Eugene Stephens.
Visitation will be held on Monday, November 20, 2017 from 5-8pm at Jemison First Baptist Church.
Funeral services will be held on Tuesday, November 21, 2017 at 2:00pm from Jemison First Baptist Church with Rev. Eugene Atchison and Rev. Rex Kent officiating.
The body will be in state one hour prior to the service at the church.
Burial will follow in the Midway Memorial Gardens in Jemison, AL.
Bill’s heart belonged to children. If you wish to make a donation in lieu of flowers, the family request it be made to St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital.
Final care and arrangements entrusted to the Ellison Memorial Funeral Home in Clanton, AL.
St. Jude Children's Research Hospital
501 St. Jude Place, Memphis TN 38105