Dr. George Raymond "Ray" Stephens, Jr. was born Sept. 14, 1928 at St. Vincent's Hospital in Sherman, the son of Lake Frances Wilson Stephens and George Raymond Stephens, Sr. He died at home on Monday, Aug. 19, 2013 after a brief illness.
He is a descendant of early Grayson County settlers, tracing his family back five generations to a physician in the 1840's Republic of Texas. His father was Executive Vice President of Merchants and Planters National Bank, who served on the Sherman City Council, followed by two terms as mayor.
A 1946 graduate of Sherman High School, Stephens was named a Distinguished Ex-Student in 2004. He was a 1950 graduate of Austin College and was named a Distinguished Alumnus in 1985. Stephens received his medical degree with honors from the University of Texas
Medical Branch-Galveston in 1954, where he was elected to the Alpha Omega Alpha Honor Medical Society. Stephens took the words of the society's founder, "Be Worthy to Serve," to heart throughout his career.
While completing his internship and residency at the University of Iowa
Medical Center, he met Betty Hansen, a nurse at the hospital. Betty and Ray married on July 29, 1956 in Sioux City, Iowa and recently celebrated their 57th wedding anniversary. He interrupted his residency to serve in the United States Air Force from 1956-1958 as a medical officer based in St. Johns, Newfoundland, Canada, achieving the rank of Major.
Upon completion of his residency, the family returned to Sherman, Stephens' hometown, where he practiced obstetrics and gynecology until his retirement in 1992. During his career, Stephens delivered more than 10,000 babies. He was Board certified in Obstetrics – Gynecology.
Stephens was a devoted Christian, husband, father, friend, physician, community leader and golfer.
Stephens was the recipient of numerous awards and honors. He served as an Elder and Trustee of Covenant Presbyterian Church, where he was a longtime member. He served on the Austin College Board of Trustees during the 1980s and 1990s, and remained active as a Senior Trustee until his death. He most recently co-chaired with his wife, Betty, the 2013 Austin College Community Campaign, raising more than $600,000 in local donations for the college. As past president of The Rotary Club
of Sherman, he was honored as a Paul Harris Fellow. He was past chairman of Goodwill Industries of Northeast Texas and a member of the Board of Trustees of the Old Settlers Association of Grayson County. He was a past member of the Wilson N. Jones Foundation Board. He also served as a trustee of the Byrd Fielder Livingood Charitable Trust, which provides for the medical expenses of the indigent elderly. In 2010, Stephens was honored with the Emmett Essin Community Service Award from Wilson N. Jones Medical Center Foundation.
Stephens was a member of Woodlawn Country Club, Tanglewood Golf Club and Stone Creek Golf Club. He was an avid golfer and scored six holes-in-one during his lifetime. On one of his final rounds of golf, he shot a 77, his best score in a year, and he joked that they must be putting something in his chemotherapy. He was always pleased with his score if he shot less than his age.
Stephens was preceded in death by his parents and sister, Frances Wilson Stephens Cherry. Survivors include his wife Betty; children, Susan Stephens of Dallas, Martha Stephens of Sherman, John Stephens of Grafton, Mass., and David and wife Sharon Stephens of Pilot Point; grandchildren, Nicholas and his wife Brynn Stephens of Frisco, and Jordan Stephens of Austin, and their mother, Stephanie Stephens of Pilot Point. He is also survived by a nephew, Stephen Cherry, and two nieces, Elisabeth Wright and Catherine Wenger.
A visitation will be held from 6 -8 p.m. on Wednesday, Aug. 21, at Dannel Funeral Home.
The Memorial and Celebration of Life will be held at 10 a.m., Thursday, Aug. 22, at Wynne Chapel located on the Austin College campus, officiated by Rev. Neill Morgan, pastor of Covenant Presbyterian Church and Dr. John Williams, Austin College chaplain. Following the service, a reception will be held in Mabee Hall in the Wright Campus Center.
A private family burial service was conducted previously at West Hill Cemetery. Serving as pallbearers were John Stephens, David Stephens, Nicholas Stephens and Stephen Cherry.
If desired, memorials may be made to the Stephens Family International Studies Scholarship Fund at Austin College, 900 North Grand Avenue, Sherman, TX 75090, or the donor's favorite charity.