John Stephens

Born: Mon., Feb. 2, 1942
Died: Sat., Mar. 14, 2020


Family to do services at later date

Location: Hoboken Baptist Church


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**NOTE**

Due to the uncertainties surrounding the COVID-19 (Coronavirus), the advice of health care professionals, the advisement against large gatherings of 50 or more people, and with respect for the health of our community and the family, the Stephens family has chosen to postpone services for Coach Stephens until a later date.

Please continue to keep them in your prayers during this time and new service times will be announced in the following weeks as new information is provided.

 

John J. Stephens, age 78, of Blackshear, died late Friday night (3/14/20) in Wayne Memorial Hospital following an extended illness.

Due to the uncertainties surrounding the COVID-19 (Coronavirus), the advice of health care professionals, the advisement against large gatherings of 50 or more people, and with respect for the health of the community and family, a Celebration of Life will be held in April, with a date and time to be determined.

His parents were the late Mark and Marie Stephens of Adel.

Until 1958, he played football and sang in the Waycross schools and moved with his family to Savannah, where he played football and sang, graduating in 1960 from Jenkins High School; following that, he received a voice scholarship to Brewton Parker College, where he was elected “Freshman Favorite.” From there, he earned a football scholarship to Troy University in Troy, Alabama. He graduated with a B.S. Ed. in English and taught and coached at Ariton High in Ariton, Alabama, until moving to Georgia.

He served a coaching and teaching appointment at Coffee High in Douglas before meeting his wife-to-be, Elaine Thomas of Waycross. After marriage they both taught English and coached at Benedictine Military School in Savannah, Claxton High School, Appling County High School in Baxley, Perry High School, and Pierce County High School, when he decided to retire. He came out of retirement to coach and teach at Bacon County High School in Alma, and then accepted an offer at Ware County High School after which he retired. He coached wrestling and football while his wife coached the cheerleaders.

Survivors include his wife, Elaine; daughter, Katie Stephens Ward and husband Michael of Jesup, son, Mark Stephens and wife Sarah of Glennville; 4 grandchildren, Carsyn and Collyn Ward of Jesup and Laney and Stone Stephens of Glennville; sister, Mary Stephens Hodges of Rincon; niece and nephews, Christan Hodges Bush (Pete) of Blackshear, Howard Hodges (Laura) of Rincon, and Josh Hodges (Amber) of Rincon; one cousin, Charles Zeigler of Columbia, S.C; Special friends,his teammates from Troy, Laurie Calvin, Sandy Haney, Susan Snead, Wally and Julia Nell Shaw of Perry, Debbie Stinchcomb of Baxley, and Kathy and Ed Deen of Baxley. Also, his fellow coaches with whom he maintained close contact remain dear to his family.

Following his marriage, he and his wife attended Georgia Southern University, where he earned a master’s degree in administration.

Blessed with amazing musical talent, he served as choir director in numerous churches from Claxton, Baxley, Perry and Waycross. Locally, he served at Blackshear First United Methodist, Hebardville Baptist and then Hoboken Baptist, where he retired this year.

He loved his God, family, choir members, students and players. Among his hobbies were flowers and his greenhouse, old cars and gospel music. For many years, he, his wife and sister sang in a gospel trio. Especially he loved staying in touch with former students and athletes.

Among his numerous honors are Who’s Who in Georgia, yearbook dedications, Governor’s Proclamation for outstanding coaching success, numerous Georgia Athletic Coaches Association Coach of the Year titles both in football and wrestling, Touchdown Club of Atlanta Coach of the Year, Chaplain’s Leadership Award, and Christian Citizen of the Year.

Memorialization is by cremation. A memorial service will be held in April with a date and time to be determined.

In lieu of flowers, the family would appreciate donations made to Hoboken Baptist Church, 4714 W Main St E, Hoboken, GA 31542.

Sympathy may be expressed by signing online at www.hartfh.com. 

Hart Funeral Home of Blackshear is in charge of arrangements.

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Condolence Booklet

Harriette Meeks Hall
   Posted Sun March 15, 2020
You are in my thoughts and prayers. Our friendship goes back a long time. John always had the ability to cheer me up when ever I was down. His beautiful voice has now joined the heavenly choir.
Much love
Harriette

Jen and Jim
   Posted Sun March 15, 2020
Coach we will always love you and the memories you gave us. Condolences to all the family, God be with you. -Ware Sports 2003-2004.

Lora Sunshine Ganey
   Posted Sun March 15, 2020
So very sorry for your loss. Praying for your family.

Melissa Bagley Griffin
   Posted Sun March 15, 2020
Prayers of peace and comfort. I know Coach Stephens and Daddy (Dr Bagley) are having a good ok’ discussion about now.

Mike Woodard
   Posted Sun March 15, 2020
My deepest, sincere condolences to the entire family. In 1989, Coach gave me my first coaching job and with Mrs. Elaine, they directed me towards what has now turned out to be a 30+ year professional career. I will always be appreciative to them and to coach for always remaining a great friend in mentor. Rest In Peace & GOD Bless

Jordan Ganas
   Posted Sun March 15, 2020
Rest In Peace Coach! Great man and a great coach!

Ricky thornton
   Posted Sun March 15, 2020
Sorry for your loss great coach he tooknthe Gators to the playoff happy man

Ashleyjean Ellis (Kelly)
   Posted Sun March 15, 2020
The world just lost one good man. He made High School enjoyable. He always had a smile and always wanted to make sure you were doing good. Later in life when I had my little girl and we would see him around town he would pick her up and talk to her, laugh with her and tell me how beautiful she is. So, Coach...if you're not to busy...could you watch over her some too? My Grandma has been doing it since March 14 2005...she could use the back-up.

Heather Gardner Mullis
   Posted Sun March 15, 2020
May God give you peace and comfort that only He can give during this time. Coach Stephens was such an inspiration to me and so many others. Not only was he a phenomenal coach but he was one of my all time favorite teachers. Hugs and Prayers sent your way! 🙏

The Poinsett Family
   Posted Sun March 15, 2020
We are sorry for your loss. You and your family will be in our prayers.
The Poinsett Family

Robert Green
   Posted Sun March 15, 2020
David and I will stand in support and memorialization/celebration the 21st. A tree will be planted in his memory in the Holy Land.

Katrina Dukes and family
   Posted Sun March 15, 2020
We're wishing Mrs. Stephens and family peace to bring comfort, the courage to face the days ahead and loving memories of Coach Stephens to forever be remembered.

Please accept our love and condolences,

Katrina Dukes and family

Cynthia Miller Humbles
   Posted Sun March 15, 2020
My deepest condolences to the Stephen's family. Coach Stephen was one of my favorite teachers and an awesome coach at Claxton High School. I am a part of the class of 1981.

Donna Kelly
   Posted Sun March 15, 2020
Elaine and Family,
The Kelly familiy sends our deepest condolences to you and the family. John will be missed by all of us who were blessed to know him. May your comfort come in knowing it was in Peace he entered this life and in peace he departed it. God bless you all.

Stephanie Willocks
   Posted Sun March 15, 2020
Loss is for those of us who remain and comfort for our loss is knowing our loved ones are now free.

I will always remember that anytime John introduced me to anyone he would begin to tell the story of how he carried me in the bend of his arm when I was an infant. The two of you have had an unending influence in the lives of countless people. Know that I am one of them and will continue to hold your whole family in my heart.

Cindy Lewis Rager
   Posted Sun March 15, 2020
I'm so sorry to hear this news. He made such an impact on the lives of so many people... something of which I know all of you are proud. He (and Elaine) will forever hold a special place in my heart! Love and prayers for all of you.

fred and brenda Zauner
   Posted Sun March 15, 2020
So sorry for your loss Elaine. John was a great man and will be missed!!

Gordon Ferrell
   Posted Sun March 15, 2020
Miss Elaine, you were a great influence in my life as my teacher. I was there when you and the Coach got married. I have thought about you many many times over the years and I have said a lot of prayers over the last few months.

Jason and Nicole Belle
   Posted Sun March 15, 2020
We are so very sorry for your loss. Our sincerest condolences to you and your family during this difficult time.

Terri Bailey Macy
   Posted Sun March 15, 2020
My prayers for the family Coach Stephens was one of my teachers In highschool he was always a ssuper teacher and thinking back was awesome with the students

Sandra Williams Turner
   Posted Mon March 16, 2020
Elaine, my heart goes out to you in your loss. You have had a terrible time losing Ellabeth and John. I will be praying for you and your family.

Jerry and Patsy Griffin
   Posted Mon March 16, 2020
Please accept our sincere sympathy for your loss. John was a good Christian with a beautiful voice, who will be singing in the Heavenly choir, now. Our love to you and the family.

Jamarieo Barkley
   Posted Mon March 16, 2020
This really hurt my heart. One of the best men I ever met in my life. Tought me alot about life and football more then a coach.

Keith Morris
   Posted Mon March 16, 2020
The loss of a truly great man, his leadership, caring and willing to always help others was second to none. Thanks coach for the impact you and Mrs.Elaine had on the lives of so many.

Bob Coleman
   Posted Mon March 16, 2020
Mrs. Elaine,
I am so sorry to hear of Coach John's death and my prayers certainly include you, him and the family. Thank you so much for the positive impact you had on my life as a teacher. I know his legacy was the same. God's blessings and peace be given to you in full measure.

Dixie Houston
   Posted Mon March 16, 2020
Elaine, we were so sorry to hear of the homegoing of John. Our thoughts and prayers are with you and your family. We have such pleasant memories of our years as neighbors.

Kay C. Smith
   Posted Mon March 16, 2020
ELaine and other relatives of John,Showers of prayers are being sent to you. You and John have been in our prayers for many years. I think I met you both when I was in graduate summer school in 1973. We even received some marital advice from John in 1974( keeping quarters for the first year of marriage)May many good memories from family and friends keep you warm for days to come!

James Cox
   Posted Mon March 16, 2020
My thoughts and prayers go out to the family. Coach was much more than a Coach. He was a leader, a mentor, and most importantly a friend. You will be greatly missed sir.

Donna (Purcell) Winburn
   Posted Mon March 16, 2020
We are so sorry to learn of John’s passing! He was a wonderful person and I know he will be missed. Remembering great times at Claxton High.
Donna and Dwight Winburn

Walda Kight
   Posted Mon March 16, 2020
Dear Elaine and family,
I am so sorry to hear about Mr. John's passing. You all are in my thoughts and prayers. May God comfort you during this difficult time! Sincerely, Walda Kight

Nancy Carter Dees
   Posted Mon March 16, 2020
Elaine and family, I am so sorry to hear about John. What a great guy! We all had great times at Coffee Co. High School. Such good memories. I will keep you in my thoughts and prayers.

macy strickland warnell
   Posted Mon March 16, 2020
so sorry to hear of johns passing. I will always remember john and elaine as very special friends and all the songs we used to sing at the Daisy Methodist Church!

Patsy & Terry DeLoach
   Posted Mon March 16, 2020
John was a multi-talented man with a ready smile; he could coach football, lead a choir, or sing a solo with ease. Can you imagine the sound of the angelic choir with his voice added? I can almost hear the faint strains of "Beulah Land"! May God continue to bless you, Elaine, and the whole family during this difficult time.

Malcolm
   Posted Mon March 16, 2020
My condolences to the Stephens family.

Tami (Barker) McMaster
   Posted Mon March 16, 2020
May you Rest in Peace Coach Stephens. You are no longer in pain as you rest in the arms of our Lord and Savior. Condolences, Mrs. Stephens to you and your family. May God give each of you strength for the very hard days ahead. Sending you much love and prayers. God Bless.

Janie & Phil Wysong
   Posted Mon March 16, 2020
Thinking of you & keeping you in our prayers.
Janie & Phil Wysong

Peter Leopold
   Posted Mon March 16, 2020
No more pain. Rest in peace Coach. Prayers for comfort for your family.

Gwen Tribble
   Posted Mon March 16, 2020
Elaine, I know firsthand the pain of losing your husband, but also know that our Heavenly Father will surround you with a love and peace that is always there and always enough! I am thankful that you have such wonderful children and precious grandchildren to help fill the days ahead too. Ginger and I have spoken of both you and Coach Stephens often over the past years, and have prayed for healing for him. Please know that both of you were such blessings in our lives, and we are grateful that God allowed our paths to cross. May He carry you gently through all the tough times ahead! Be blessed, sweet friend!

Anthony sapp
   Posted Mon March 16, 2020
I'm so sorry to hear of the passing of our beloved coach Stephens. You and the coach were mother and father to every soul y'all touched while here in claxton. The angels are rejoicing to receive his soul. We are left here on Earth with sorrow and sadness. I pray, the Lord's mercy will shine upon you and your family and ease your heart's in this trying time. I have always loved you and the coach. It's like burying another father. A great loss

Teresa and Rusty Ganas
   Posted Mon March 16, 2020
Rusty and I send love and prayers. We know what a loss this is for you and your family. We pray for comfort and strength today and the many lonely days and weeks to come. May God wrap his arms around each of you.

Chauncey Mayfield - BC Class of 1974
   Posted Mon March 16, 2020
Ms. Stephen - I am sorry to hear about the passing of Coach Stephen. My prayers and condolences are with your family and you. May God bless and keep you in this difficult time . Be well!

LEON / TENA ALVAREZ DOUGLAS
   Posted Mon March 16, 2020
ELAINE, SO SORRY FOR YOUR LOSS, OUR PRAYERS TO YOU AND FAMILY

Juddy/Jane Thackston Hamilton
   Posted Mon March 16, 2020
Dear Elaine and family, How very saddened we are to learn of John's death.We grieve with you but, rejoice that John is with his heavenly Father!
Juddy & Jane

James, Kathy, and Jake Conoly
   Posted Tue March 17, 2020
Please accept our deepest sympathy. Being in the coaching profession, I had known John for a long time. He was a good friend and had my greatest respect. Players loved John, including my son Jake. He was always a positive person and an inspiring coach. It has been a pleasure and an honor to have known him.

Jerry Jeffers, Benedictine Class of 1975
   Posted Tue March 17, 2020
Mrs. Stephens, I wanted to send my prayers and thoughts to you and your family. Even though it’s been years I have very fond memories of playing under Coach and learning in his classroom. He always gave it his all and would do anything for us. He was a leader, teacher and a friend. So sorry for your loss.

Rhonda Hutcheson Davis
   Posted Tue March 17, 2020
Ms Elaine and family, I'm so sorry for you loss. Coach Stephens, was such a great man, and so loved by us all.

Ewing Buckner
   Posted Tue March 17, 2020
Coach Stephens was my Offensive Line Coach. His strong influence made me a better man. I love him and Mrs Elaine very much.

Tommy and Amanda Cannon
   Posted Wed March 18, 2020
Dear Elaine,
A former player of John and Tommy's just called to let us know of John's death. We are so sorry and yet we have so many happy memories of our time with y'all at BC. We remember John as a dedicated and caring coach and husband. We're sure those traits multiplied exponentially over the years after you left Savannah. You and your children and grandchildren should be comforted by knowing how many lives he touched.
Remembering you with sympathy and love,
Amanda and Tommy

Cory Highland
   Posted Wed March 18, 2020
Dear Ms. Stephens,

I was so sorry to hear about Coach Stephens’ passing. What a great guy. I graduated from BC in 1975 and remember him as a cool and loving man. As many people have said already, he had a great influence on many, many young people, and I am grateful to have been one of them. Please know I am thinking of you and your family.

Sincerely,
Cory Highland

Richard R. Bunbury, PhD
   Posted Wed March 18, 2020
I wish to express my sincerest condolences to his family, especially his wife Elaine, who was one of my English teachers at Benedictine. I was surprised to learn about the musical part of his education and career, which I did not know about until now. Now I feel something in common with him. May he be singing with the choir of angels and be looking down and protecting his family and relatives.

Mark Powers
   Posted Wed March 18, 2020
A memorable and good man . RIP Coach Stephens and condolences to family.

Hollis Crummey
   Posted Wed March 18, 2020
I really got to know John when we were in the Lions Club in Baxley. I enjoyed our friendship, although short, and he left the impression of an upright, Christian man.

Jimmy Moore
   Posted Wed March 18, 2020
My sincere condolences to the family! Coach Stephens was my coach at Coffee county. He inspired me to become a coach. I have always tried to keep up with him over the years! Again I am sorry for your loss!😥😥🙏🙏

Don Tyre
   Posted Wed March 18, 2020
I am so thankful to say John Stephens was my friend. He was such a fine person! I became acquainted with him in coaching, We had such fun together. He was so good with people! He touched so many lives! What a smile, he was a charmer! Truly a unique personality in our profession. Elaine, Katie and Mark, Chris and I thank you for sharing John with us. I bet there is a beautiful rose garden in God`s kingdom!

Alisha Crapps Waters
   Posted Thu March 19, 2020
Coach Stephens was never my teacher or coach, but he still taugjt me many things in life and also coached me on how to be the best person for MYSELF. He always told me to have self respect and to k ow that I am worthy of it. Although I havrnt seen him since graduation (88 ACCHS) He and you Ms Elaine has been thought of often and all the heart and soul you both poured into PIRATE COUNTRY. For that, Thank you. My heart is with yall during this time of adjustment. I know this mighty man will be forever missed by MANY.

Robert Owens
   Posted Thu March 19, 2020
To the Stevens Family , I am truly regretful for your loss .Coach Stevens was a friend of mine even though he taught me . He cared about everybody . I'm sorry to see his loss and my thoughts and prayers are with you . My name is Robert OwenOwens , Benedictine class of 76 . Amen

DAVID BOATRIGHT
   Posted Thu March 19, 2020
MRS. ELAINE,

I AM SO SORRY TO HEAR OF COACH'S PASSING. YOUR FAMILY PLAYED SUCH A BIG PART
OF MY HIGH SCHOOL YEARS. YOU WILL CONTINUE TO BE IN MY THOUGHTS AND PRAYERS.

GOD BLESS YOU!

Rebecca Brown Martin
   Posted Thu March 19, 2020
Elaine, I understand, from all those who have posted comments on Facebook, that you and John shared a beautiful life together. The love that sustained you through the years of marriage is the love that will always be there for you, inside you for a lifetime. This love and strength in God will give you everything you need to get through these heartbreaking days. You will never be alone. God bless you and all of your family.

Norma D. Strickland
   Posted Sat March 21, 2020
Elaine and family, Expressing our sympathy to you all, have so many memories when you were in Claxton. Sending prayers. Norma Strickland and family

Phil and Sandy Smith
   Posted Tue March 24, 2020
We were so sorry to hear about John. Elaine, you and your family are in our prayers for strength and comfort in the coming days. Just wanted you to know we do still keep up with you folks - we really did enjoy the time ya'll spent with us at PHS! You both had such a positive influence on so many people and I'm sure it still continues. Be safe and we will be thinking about you!

Helen Atwood
   Posted Wed March 25, 2020
Dear Elaine,
I thought that the obituary of John's life was just beautiful. I am so glad that you two found each other and had so many happy years together. I am praying for God's comfort for you and that your new life will have many blessings as well.
Much love to you,
Helen

jesse massey
   Posted Thu March 26, 2020
To a great man and coach, I AM glad that I can say I worked with a Teacher first and lover of the game of Football. May you rest in Peace. Coach Massey!!!

Maurice Hannah
   Posted Mon March 30, 2020
To all of John’s family. I am very sorry for your loss. John was a childhood friend of mine and I have many good memories of him. Rest In Peace, my friend.

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