JOPLIN, Mo. —
Shirley Stephens, age 82, went to heaven to be with her Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ, Saturday, Feb. 2, 2013. She was surrounded by her family.
Shirley was born to L.E. and Verna (Gullette) Merritt March 10, 1930. She lived in Joplin all her life except for a brief period during World War II, when she lived in Orange, Texas, with her parents. Shirley attended Duquesne Elementary and graduated in 1948, from Joplin High. Shirley excelled at dancing and eventually opened her own studio in the late 1940s and early 1950s.
She met the love of her life, Lloyd (Sonny) Stephens, when she was only 15. They married in 1950, and began their lifelong adventure together. After teaching dance she also owned and worked at Stephens Grocery in Duquesne, followed by working for the then Joplin Water Works for 20 years as a bookkeeper.
Together Shirley and Sonny had three children, David Stephens (wife, Anita), Jill Kaminsky (husband, Jack), and Mark Stephens (wife, Vanessa); numerous adored grandchildren, Matt Stephens, Heather Egnor (husband, Scott), Russell Kaminsky (wife, Jessica), Nathan Kaminsky (wife, Maleia), Kira Kaminsky, Shane West (Shianne), Katy Kaminsky, Julia Doubledee and Jared Stephens; and beloved great-grandchildren, Olivia Stephens, Soren Kaminsky, Ransom Kaminsky, Meredith Egnor, Cydney Egnor and River West. Being an only child, Shirley loved visiting with Sonny's sister and brothers and all the nieces and nephews.
Shirley enjoyed most of all family gatherings and would cook Sunday dinner for everyone every week without fail.
The sparkle left her eyes when Sonny passed away in December 2003. Since then her passions were her family gatherings and her "Class of 1948" get togethers.
You blessed our lives and our hearts are broken for our loss, but rejoice in your new home in heaven.
Arrangements have been made with Parker Mortuary. Visitation was Wednesday from 6 to 7 p.m. Funeral services are Thursday at 10 a.m. at Parker Mortuary, with Jay St. Clair officiating.
Online condolences may be made at www.parkermortuary.com