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Saturday, February 12, 2022
Starts at 2:00pm
Lee Weldon Stephenson was born north of Mountain Peak, Ellis County, Texas, on October 15, 1934 to Douglas and Johnnie Mae (Brown) Stephenson. Five years later his sister Patsy Ruth was born. Because the years of his childhood were Depression years, the family moved often, living on the Henderson family farm near Venus, TX, in Ajo, AZ, in Ropesville, TX, and De Leon, TX. After graduation from Lubbock High School in 1953, he entered McMurry College in Abilene with the intention of entering the pastoral ministry of the Methodist Church. While there, he met Ruth Ann Rhodes, and they married in 1955; they had two daughters, Jennifer and Sigrid. He graduated from Howard Payne College in 1958 and entered Perkins Seminary, SMU, the following year. He graduated with an M. Div. in 1962 and was ordained. After serving churches in May, Zephyr, Big Spring, Anna, Thalia, Amarillo, New Deal and Dalhart, he earned a Master's degree in English at West Texas State in Canyon. He began teaching English and philosophy at South Plains College in Levelland, in 1969, planning to teach for only one year before going back into the ministry, and when he retired in 2001, he joked that he had taught for 32 years, one year at a time. In 2003, he married Sandra Barnhill, also of the English department of SPC.
Lee Weldon Stephenson's life was a life of ministry, whether in church, in school, or in the community. In addition to the churches he pastored, once he moved to Levelland, he preached in a number of area churches and continued his work as a pastoral counselor. In addition, he performed weddings, baptisms, and funerals for family and friends, always with grace. After he retired from SPC, he was blessed to serve the Lutheran churches in Levelland and Littlefield. At South Plains College, he touched the lives of innumerable students, teaching not only writing, literature, and philosophy, his assigned subjects, but also opening his students' minds to life and the important issues of life. Years after leaving his classroom, students still speak of how he changed their lives. As a result, he was voted Phi Theta Kappa Teacher of the Month so many times that finally he was eliminated from eligibility. At SPC he read the names of the graduates each year at commencement, and each year he spoke on ethics to the incoming faculty, helping to set the tone for their commitment to their students. He wrote the lyrics for the school song and the statement of purpose for the college. He made many contributions to the community, from reading the words for spelling bees to emceeing the annual awards banquet at the Senior Citizens' Center to making speeches and presentations whenever and wherever he was asked. He was selected as Levelland Citizen of the Year in 1988. He will be remembered for his lively sense of humor, his commitment to his students and to education, his passion for life, his love of his family, and his desire to be "God's man."
He is survived and mourned by his wife, Sandra, Levelland, his daughters Jennifer Stephenson of Levelland, and Sigrid Chavez and her husband Gerald, of Corrales, NM, grandson Austin Crawley and his wife Elaine and their children Bryson and Kanyon, of Temple, TX, grandson Karsten Neustifter, in Thailand, and cousins, niece, nephews, and great-nieces and great-nephew. Extended family includes Elizabeth Barnhill and her husband James Hagan and their children Cora and Conor of Coppell, TX, and Alison Barnhill, of Dallas, TX. He is pre-deceased by his father, mother, sister, and great-grandson, Kaleb Crawley.
"Oh, who will come and go with me, we are bound for the promised land."
A memorial service will be held at 2:00 PM, Saturday, February 12, 2022, at Christ United Methodist Church in Levelland.
Arrangements are under the direction and personal care of the professionals at Krestridge Funeral Home, 806-897-1111.