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J. Stephens

Tuesday, July 30, 2002

Johnnie Everett Stephens of Dexter, the son of Moletes and Eva Tucker Stephens, was born at Gerster, Mo., on Feb. 7, 1910, and died at his home on Sunday, July 28, 2002, at the age of 92. On July 25, 1932, he married the former Thelma Dora Dull at Osceola, Mo., and she preceded him in death on Nov. 16, 1997, after enjoying 65 years together. He was a row crop and livestock farmer all his life. As a young man, he worked in the wheat harvest out west and in Iowa corn harvests. He helped cut the right-of-ways on many roads in the Gerster area, and was an active citizen in the community. Johnnie Stephens came from a musical family who played blue grass music during the dancing era in St. Clair County. Johnnie played the French harp (harmonica), sang and called square dances. He continued to entertain at local schools in Stoddard County - his last performance was in April. After many years of farming on the Osage River, downstream from Osceola, Johnnie and Thelma were forced to give up their beloved farm to the Truman Dam acquisition. In 1975, they left St. Clair County, relocating to the Missouri Bootheel, and continued farming until retirement. Besides his parents and wife, he was preceded in death by his only daughter, Marilyn Kaye Farmer on May 31, 2001; five brothers, Roy, Charley, Otha, Bufford and Ernest Stephens; four sisters, Stella Newcomb, Laura Starks, Violet Walters and Beulah Moreland. He is survived by two sisters, Ora Dull of Independence and Ester Prior of Phoenix, Ariz.; his only son, Johnie Everett Stephens, Jr., of Parma; three granddaughters, Cecilia Lanpher, Anne Seyer and Patricia Turman, all of Dexter; three grandsons, William Christopher Farmer and Michael Farmer of Rockport, and John Stephens III of Dexter; 11 great-grandchildren; a daughter-in-law, Shirley Crow Stephens of Parma; and a son-in-law, William W. Farmer of Rockport; and other relatives and friends. Visitation will be held at 10 a.m. Thursday, Aug. 1, 2002, followed by services at 11 a.m. in the Sheldon-Goodrich Funeral Home in Osceola. Interment will be in Kings Prairie Cemetery. PAID