Mrs. Elsie Stephens
June 17, 1926 - November 5, 2020
94 years ago, a tiny firecracker arrived in Wytheville, Va., when Elsie was born to Sheldon and Helen Havens. Later, she was joined by a little brother, Luther. Although she was small, Elsie had tremendous inner strength, an adventurous spirit and big dreams. Elsie loved music, especially Country music. Her cherished memories included winning a music scholarship and enjoying weekly dances held in her parents' barn.
She married John Brinkley and had her precious son, "Billy" (John Jr.). The three of them traveled the country, following John's military assignments, but they always called Wytheville "home". Fashion was Elsie's lifelong passion! A talented seamstress, she managed Maxine's clothing store. After she was widowed, she became a self-taught artist whose comissioned works graced the walls of the Wytheville Town Office. She ejoyed the community of artists who displayed their works at the annual Chautauqua Festival. She later married a kind man, Frank Stephens, who shared a love of travel and fishing- and his loving children and grandchildren!
After Frank died, Elsie moved across the country to live with Billy and his wife, Bonny, in the Seattle area. An excellent listener, Elsie made new friends, cheered for the Hokeys and the Seahawks while charming everyone with her gracious manner. They called her their "Southern Belle". In her later years she found strength in studing the Bible and encouraged others to read the Bible. She longed for the time when the "meek shall inherit the earth" under God's Kingdom. To hear Elsie's favorite song/music video, go to jw.org
,and type "Just Around the Corner" in the search box.
Hearing updates from family and friends meant the world to her. Thank you for the many cards and letters Dianne Stephens and Donna Leonard. Elsie treasured the long phone conversations with grand-daughter Sharon Smith and her dear cousin Linda. Special thanks to Betony Payne and Ashley Brown who provided years of loving companionship, spiritual comfort and the chance to have an "adopted great-grandbaby", Josiah Brown, to snuggle.
Elsie is survived by her son, John W. Brinkley Jr. "Billy" and wife, Bonny; her cousins, Linda Hagy and Ruth Clark; her niece, Kathy Norris; nephew, Pete Havens; and children and grandchildren of Frank Stephens.
Following Elsie's wishes, a private service was held.
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Published by SWVA Today on Nov. 21, 2020.