Cecil Blalock Stephenson, Jr., died on Sunday, the 21st of July 2013. |
C.B. was born in Houston on the 18th of November 1936, the son of Rev. Cecil Blalock Stephenson, Sr., and Norma Lugene Taylor Stephenson. He attended West University Elementary and Pershing Junior High School before graduating from Lamar in 1954. He then completed his undergraduate at Stanford University (1958), a law degree from The University of Texas at Austin (1961), and graduate work at the University of Chicago Divinity School before returning to Houston.
C.B. had a great sense of humor-kind yet insightful-and a gift for lightening the mood. A consummate people person, he brought passion and engagement to the many social groups of which he was a member throughout his life: El Quadro eating club at Stanford (where he served as President), and in Houston, Cadre, The Bachelor's Club, and The Forest Club. His zest for life shone through his many interests.
At Lamar, he was a regular presence in the Houston Post for track, and he shared his formidable tennis skills with friends and family throughout his life.
C.B. also trained in voice, intending to become an opera singer; and while he never graced that stage, his lovely baritone and passion for opera were lifelong gifts.
He cared deeply about the big questions in life. Having grown up a reverend's son, he thought deeply about his relationship with God and the Church, and how these were to impact his living. C.B. was a committed member of the Christian Faith and Life Community during his time in Austin, where he was introduced to the work of Paul Tillich, which had an enduring impact on him. He furthered his exploration into the Christian tradition with graduate studies at U Chicago. For many years, he shared this passion at Memorial Drive Presbyterian Church through the Twentieth Century Theologians group, which he founded and co-led with Scott Kelso.
While always proud of getting an early start with a 5-year stint as a Houston Post delivery boy, C.B.'s vocation was the law. After working for several top Houston law firms, he opened his own practice and was very successful. C.B.'s early use of television advertising and the memorable LAW-1000 number made him a familiar name in the Houston legal community.
C.B. was immensely proud of his heritage as a 4th generation Texan, harkening back to the pioneering family of Henry W. Taylor. Along with his uncle by marriage, Col. Charles Goodnight of trailblazing fame, Henry Taylor played a prominent role in the development of Clarendon, an important Panhandle hub at the time. C.B. loved collecting good stories-particularly about Texas-and took delight in those garnered from many years on the Salt Grass Trail Ride with Wagons 8 and 3.
C.B. was preceded in death by his parents; his sister, Betty Melinder; his beloved nephew, Steven Paul Melinder; and his niece, Sherry Melinder. He is survived by his three children, Cecil Blalock "Blake" Stephenson III; Ruth Binkerd "Ruthie" Emrick and her husband Craig; Kittredge Taylor Stephenson; and their mother, Ruth Binkerd "Binky" Strom. C.B. was blessed to know his two grandchildren, Weldon Oak and Parker Grace Emrick. He is also survived by members of the Melinder and Tully families.
The family would like to extend their deepest gratitude to Sophia and George Partida for their compassionate care of C.B.
A memorial service will be celebrated at 3 o'clock on Friday, the 26th of July, in the Chapel of Memorial Drive Presbyterian Church, 11612 Memorial Drive. Immediately following, all are invited to greet the family during a reception at the Church. Tributes or messages may be left for the family at http://generationsfunerals.com/obits.cfm.
Donations may be made to the Houston Bar Foundation, 1001 Fannin, Suite 1300, Houston, TX 77002; Houston Grand Opera Development, 510 Preston Street, Houston, TX 77002; Hoover Institution, Office of Development, Stanford University, Stanford, CA 94305.
Published in Houston Chronicle from July 24 to July 25, 2013