MOZELL STEPHENS BENSON The funeral service for Mozell Stephens Benson, 78, of Waverly, AL, will be at 11:00 a.m., Saturday, July 21, 2012, at The City Church, 950 Shelton Mill Road, Auburn, AL 36830; Randy Cowart, Senior Pastor, Bishop Kenneth Carter, Eulogist. Interment will be at Mt. Sinai Missionary Baptist Church Cemetery in Auburn. Mrs. Benson, who passed away Monday, July 16, at her home in Waverly, AL, was born January 26, 1934 in Lee County, Alabama. Mozell is the daughter of the late Isaiah Stephens and Cleo Fears Stephens of Lee County, Alabama. Mozell was baptized at an early age and attended the Mount Sinai Baptist Church in Auburn. She later became a member of the Worldwide Church of God. During most of her working life, Mozell was a school bus driver and also served as a community Volunteer in Service to America (VISTA) in Lee County. She was recognized by a Resolution from the Senate of Alabama as a creative, resourceful, hardworking and artistic quilter. In September 2001, she received the National Endowment for the Arts (NEA), National Heritage Fellowship Award as a Master Artist. Her quilts have been displayed at the Smithsonian Institute, the American Folklife Museum and other museums and exhibits throughout the United States and in Africa. She was one of the quilters featured in the exhibition, "Signs and Symbols: African American Quilts from the Rural South" and one of her quilts is on the cover of the second edition of the book, "Signs and Symbols: African Images in African American Quilts." In 1985, she traveled to Africa to demonstrate her quilting craft for the Nigerian Council of Women's Studies as part of a U. S. State Department program. Mozell said she learned to quilt from her mother and both of her grandmothers. By teaching family members her quilting technique under the auspices of the Alabama State Council on the Arts Apprenticeship Program, there are five generations of young quilters in the Stephens family. Mozell's residence and quilting studio was built through collaboration between the Auburn University School of Architecture and the Design-Build Masters Program in the College of Architecture, Design and Construction. Students worked together to investigate and explore the concept of quilting with the fabrication of architecture. Upon completion of the residence and studio, Mozell was able to quilt, teach and live in Waverly. She has shared her frugal, expeditious and liberating quilting technique with men and women, the young and aged, as well as novice and experienced quilters. Public viewing will be Friday, July 20, 2012, from 2:00 p.m. - 7:00 p.m. at Harris Funeral Home in Opelika. Mrs. Benson will be at The City Church in Auburn one hour prior to the services. Survivors include nine children: Sylvia G. Stephens, Opelika; Curtis Murph, Jr., Waverly; Kenneth Murph, Montgomery; Sherry Murph, Las Vegas, Nevada; Glenn L.(Barbara) Murph, Atlanta, Georgia; Terry L. (Mena) Murph, Auburn; Michael E. Murph, Birmingham; Pamela Murph Harris, Waverly and Karen Murph (James) Allen, Montgomery; two brothers, Edward (Frances) Stephens and Soloman (Fannye) Stephens both of Auburn; two sisters-in-law, Dorothy Stephens, Auburn and Mary Benson (John) Oliver, Atlanta, Georgia; an aunt, Frances Wilson, Atlanta, Georgia; more than 35 grandchildren and great-grandchildren, a loving family of nieces, nephews, other relatives, neighbors and friends. Mozell Benson loves flowers and we welcome them. If you would like to make a donation in lieu of flowers, the family respectfully requests memorial donations be made to the Auburn University College of Architecture Design-Build Program. In honor of Mozell Benson, you may send a memorial gift to the Auburn University Office of Development for the College of Architecture Design-Build, 317 South College Street, Auburn, AL 36849. Or you may give on line at https://fp.auburn.edu/giving
. Harris Funeral Home is directing. Please visit www.harrisfuneralhomeinc.com
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Published by The Opelika-Auburn News on Jul. 20, 2012.