Kenansville - Jean Cotton Stephens, 87, of Kenansville, North Carolina, passed away peacefully at Vidant Hospice Care on October 11, 2018. A beautiful, loving and devoted wife and best friend to William (Billy) Franklin Stephens for more than 70 years, having married on Christmas day of 1948, she embraced life and inspired other to be their best. She generously gave of her time and talents to enhance the lives of others. She and her husband, W. F. (Billy) Stephens joined Grove Presbyterian Church on February 2, 1949. Mrs. Stephens was born on March 23, 1931 in Wayne County, NC to the late John and Emma Cotton. She enjoyed square dancing, playing cards, singing tenor in the choir of the Grove Presbyterian Church, sharing yard work with her husband, family beach vacations, cooking, crafts, antiques, fashion, visiting with family and friends and traveling. She retired from the Duplin County Board of Education as assistant to Superintendent O. P. Johnson and Superintendent L. S. Guy, after thirty years of dedicated service. She later worked in the payroll department for the County of Duplin for several years. After retirement, she enjoyed helping her husband at Stephens’ Hardware and Service Station and collecting antiques for their antique building located behind their home.
In addition to her parents, Mrs. Stephens was predeceased by her sister, Rhoda Cotton Bland and her brothers, Silas, Ed, and Harvey Cotton. She was also predeceased by her beloved chihuahua, Pee Wee, who brought her much happiness and comfort while her husband served in the military and much joy for many years after his return home.
Surviving to remember her amazing legacy are her beloved husband, William Franklin “Billy” Stephens, and many wonderful nieces, nephews and friends, including Johnny Hollingsworth, Jane Rivenbark Kennedy and husband, Jimmy, Kay McArthur, Mary Bland Congleton, Gerald Bland, Connie B. Newberry, Nancy Yancey Hopkins, Steve McBride, Jean Williamson, Becky Mann, Wayne Brown, and Michael Brown. Friends were the jewels in her life and she made many lifelong genuine friend, among them special friends, Dorothy Cavenaugh, Linda Beaman and husband, Cecil, Mary Murphy and Hilda Booth. Faye Whaley was dedicated, caring, caregiver for Jean.
Funeral services will be held at Grove Presbyterian Church, 611 S. Main Street, Kenansville, NC at 2:30 p. m., on Sunday, October 14, 2018. Burial will follow the service in Golden Grove Cemetery.
Flowers are welcome, as are memorials which may be sent to Grove Presbyterian Church, P. O. Box 786, Kenansville, NC 28349 or to the Alzheimer’s Association, P.O. Box 96011, Washington, DC 20090-6011.