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Elizabeth Lee Stephenson


1923 - 2018 Obituary Condolences
Elizabeth Lee Stephenson

Mount Pleasant - Elizabeth Lee Stephenson, née Foster, known to her friends as Betty Lee and sometimes as ELF because of her initials, was born in Women's Hospital in Detroit, Michigan on May 20, 1923. Betty Lee passed quietly at her home in Mount Pleasant, Michigan on the afternoon of Thursday September 13, 2018 with her son Robert John Stephenson (Bob), wife Rainelle (Rainy), daughter Beth Diane (Stephenson) Vought, and her husband Robert John Vought (Bob2) gathered round her.

In addition to her son Bob, daughter Beth and their spouses, Betty is also survived by her three loving granddaughters: Jen Grybel of Waterford, Julia Stephenson of Ferndale, Lara (Stephenson) Cenovski and her husband Nathan of Fort Lauderdale, Florida and several cousins.

She is predeceased by several loving family members: Ralph John Stephenson, her husband of 58 years, Barbara Jo Stephenson, her daughter, Arthur (Bud) Strode Jr., first cousin by marriage, Lara Mayeta (Griffin) Foster, her mother and Leland Alger Foster her father.

An only child, her father Leland Foster was a pharmacist and later a salesman for the Iodent Toothpaste Company. Betty's mother was Lara Mayeta Griffin; her middle name was the name of the Spanish midwife who delivered Lara in California. Betty grew up on Geneva Avenue in Highland Park, Michigan, a small city surrounded by Detroit. She met her future husband Ralph John (Jack) Stephenson when his family moved in two doors away.

Betty and Jack both graduated from Highland Park High School a year apart. However, they didn't marry until February 14, 1948 (Valentine's Day) after Jack got his Master's degree in engineering. They had fun in life visiting many countries for vacation or business. They also enjoyed renting a cabin on several of the Great Lakes, kicking back, and just relaxing.

During the time between high school and marriage Betty contributed to the WWII effort by initially working on the M-18 self-propelled anti-tank gun as a Rosie the Riveter. When she started reacting to the tank oil, she took other jobs supporting the war effort including working as a comptometer operator in the Fisher Building of the New Center area in Detroit.

Betty always wanted to become a nurse, and after marriage looked into attending Wayne State Nursing College. However, with three very young children, Betty Lee settled on being a homemaker and an avid volunteer. In Rosedale Park, the Detroit neighborhood where the Stephenson family lived for almost 40 years, she was the one who kept people informed about the passing of neighbors by taking phone calls about residents who died, sending flowers to the funeral home from the neighborhood association, and making sure the obituary got into the neighborhood newsletter.

She volunteered often at her children's school, Vetal Elementary School in northwest Detroit. Some of her favorite school volunteer activities were planning and working at the annual school carnival and judging the student submissions to the Detroit Science Fair.

At their church, Strathmoor United Methodist Church in Detroit, she and Jack were counselors for the senior high Methodist Youth Fellowship for many years. She also loved helping people in the surgical waiting rooms in the Detroit and Mount Pleasant hospitals, giving support to families whose loved ones were in the operating room. For several years she also devoted time during the Christmas holidays to help in the Mount Pleasant soup kitchen.

Betty was very social and belonged to many groups and organizations. Among her favorites were a Sewing Club and a long-lived Bridge Club. The Sewing Club members met at each other's homes for over 50 years and stayed in touch even after moving from the area; there are now only two remaining members. When it was Betty's turn to host the Bridge Club, she was sure to have colored cigarettes, delicious desserts, new decks of cards with exotic designs, and of course lots of good conversation. She was also a member of the Engineering Society of Detroit Women's Auxiliary and the Mount Pleasant Garden Club. Betty was an excellent golfer and joined a league every year for much of her adult life.

Her son Bob and wife Rainelle Stephenson gave her one of her great joys in life - three granddaughters. Jen, Julia, and Lara, who brought much light into her life during their visits, especially in later years. Her life was friend-filled, long, full of happiness and optimism.

Betty was cremated; her ashes will be laid to rest during a private celebration alongside her husband Jack and her dear daughter Barbara Jo at Riverside Cemetery in Mount Pleasant, Michigan. She will be sorely missed by family and friends.

Celebration of Life Service

A celebration of Betty's life will be held on Sunday, October 14, 2018 at 2:00 PM at the Mount Pleasant First United Methodist Church, 400 S Main St, Mount Pleasant, MI 48858, phone: (989)773-6934. In lieu of flowers, smile at a stranger as Betty would have, or make a donation to the .

Social Gathering

Please join the family for a meal after the church service at Riverwood Golf Resort, 1313 E Broomfield Road, Mount Pleasant, MI 48858-9502, phone: (989)772-5726.



Published in The Detroit News & Detroit Free Press on Oct. 7, 2018
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