Richard Lee (Dick) Stephenson
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80, of New Philadelphia passed away at Summa Akron City Hospital on Dec. 6, 2013, following a period of declining health. Dick was born in Cleveland, Ohio, on Oct. 19, 1933, son of Robert Richard Stephenson and Leah Wesley Stephenson.
He is survived by his wife of sixty-one years, Virginia Warther Stephenson. Together they had five children: Ann Wesley Stephenson (Eric Kimple), Robert Richard Stephenson II (Sally Hawk Stephenson), Carol Stephenson Bullock (Craig Allan Bullock), Donna Stephenson Berndt (1962-1985), and Elizabeth Wesley Stephenson (Paul William McEwan). He is survived by nine grandchildren: John Hamilton Stephenson II and Sarah Elizabeth Stephenson, children of Robert and Sally Hawk Stephenson of New Philadelphia, Ohio; Alexander Stephenson Bullock, Meredith Lee Bullock, and James Wesley Bullock, children of Carol and Craig Bullock of Park City, Utah; William Talbot McEwan III, Robert Alan McEwan, Richard Stephenson McEwan, and Kathleen Forbes McEwan, children of Elizabeth Stephenson and Paul McEwan of New Philadelphia, Ohio. He is also survived by three nieces, Jane Stephenson, Margaret Reda and Laura Moran. In addition to his parents and daughter, he was preceded in death by his brother, James Robert Stephenson and his sister-in-law Janet Bruckman Stephenson.
Dick began his schooling in New Philadelphia in the original Central School. When World War II started, the family lived in Indianapolis (Fort Benjamin Harrison), Chattanooga, Tennessee (Fort Oglethorpe), Battle Creek, Michigan (Fort Custer) and San Antonio, Texas (Fort Sam Houston) where his father was stationed. After the completion of seventh grade, he returned to New Philadelphia to attend Welty Jr. High in 1945. During his years at New Philadelphia High School, he earned varsity letters in track and football. He was a member of the 1950 undefeated, state ranked, football team. After his graduation from New Philadelphia High School in 1951, he attended Miami University (Oxford, Ohio) and Muskingum College. While at Muskingum College, he was on the debate team that won the State of Ohio College Debate Championship.
After graduation from Muskingum College in 1955, he entered The Ohio State University School of Law. While at The Ohio State University, he served three years on the Law Journal Board of Editors. After graduation from Law School, Dick returned to New Philadelphia and joined his father and brother (James Robert Stephenson) in the general practice of law. After their graduation from law school, Robert and Elizabeth joined Dick and his brother, James Stephenson, and James M. Carrothers in the general practice of law under the firm name of Stephenson, Stephenson and Carrothers, making the fourth generation to practice law in New Philadelphia. Dick was active in community service, including serving as a Trustee, Deacon, and Sunday school teacher with the First Presbyterian Church of New Philadelphia. Additionally, Dick maintained a ten-year membership in the New Philadelphia Jaycees serving as a board member and chairman of a number of projects; in 1961 he received the Jaycees Distinguished Service Award. Dick also served as an officer and board member of the Tuscarawas County Automobile Club for over forty years and provided its legal counsel. Furthermore, Dick was a fifty-year member of the New Philadelphia Lions Club, a life member of the Tuscarawas Valley Rifle Club and the New Philadelphia Lodge 510 Elks. Dick served a number of years as chairman of the Hugh A. Fraser Fund which assists needy children of New Philadelphia and Tuscarawas County. Dick has been involved with the Quaker Foundation for New Philadelphia City Schools from its inception to date. He was one of the initial incorporators and served as its legal counsel for eighteen years. In 2011 Dick was the recipient of the Quaker Foundation's Lifetime Achievement Award. He was also a member of the New Philadelphia High School Athletic Hall of Fame selection committee.
On a professional level, Dick was a member of The Ohio State Bar Association and the Tuscarawas County Bar Association for over fifty years. He served as a six-year member of The Ohio State Bar House of Delegates and was also elected to a three-year term to the Executive Committee of the Ohio State Bar Association. Dick was a ten-year member of the O.S.B.A. Modern Courts Committee. Dick also served on the first Board of Governors of the Solo and Small Firm section of the Ohio State Bar Association. He was a Life Fellow of the Ohio State Bar Foundation, the charitable arm of the O.S.B.A. for the improvement of the justice system.
Locally, Dick was an officer of the Tuscarawas County Bar Association and received its Outstanding Member Award in 1967. While President, he was the driving force behind the incorporation of Tuscarawas Valley Legal Services Association, the first rural multiple county Legal Services Association in the state. Dick served as its President until the merger with the South East Ohio Legal Services Corp. When the State of Ohio mandated Public Defender programs, Dick was the driving force behind the formation of the Tuscarawas Valley Public Defender's Commission for Harrison, Tuscarawas and Carroll, Ohio, and served as President for a number of years.
In addition to the Ohio Bar, Dick was admitted to practice before the United States Supreme Court in 1966. He was also admitted to practice before the United States District Court Northern District of Ohio in 1964. Dick was appointed to the State of Ohio Legal Services Corporation Advisory Board by Governor James A. Rhodes in 1977.
In keeping with Dick's wishes, there are no calling hours or funeral service. Family and close friends are invited to celebrate his life with a modern wake at the Geib Funeral Center in Dover, Ohio, on Wednesday, Dec. 11, 2013 from 6 until 9 p.m. Those wishing to do so may send the family a personal condolence and light a candle in remembrance of Dick by visiting the funeral home website, www.geibcares.com. In lieu of flowers, donations may be made to the New Philadelphia City Schools Quaker Foundation for the Donna Stephenson Berndt Scholarship, Post Office Box 627, New Philadelphia, Ohio 44663 or to Hope Hollow, P.O. Box 141423 Columbus, OH 43214 or online at firstname.lastname@example.org
Geib Funeral Center & Crematory
5600 N Wooster Avenue Ext Nw
Dover, OH 44622
Published in The Times Reporter on Dec. 8, 2013