Stuart Xanthus Stephenson Jr., age 91, died on May 23, 2019, after a short illness. He was preceded in death by his parents, Stuart X. and Elizabeth Ziegler Stephenson; daughter Leigh Stephenson Kinney; and son Dr. Stuart X. Stephenson, III. He is survived by his loving wife of 68 years, Rose Johns Stephenson; son-in-law John Kinney; his adopted Hammers' family; and numerous friends.
Stuart was born April 18, 1928, in Asheville, NC and reared in Montgomery, Alabama. After graduation from Sidney Lanier High School, he attended Marion Military Institute. Earning a Naval ROTC scholarship, he then attended Harvard University and Auburn where he graduated in December 1950 with a Business Administration degree and a commission as Ensign, USN.
At Harvard and Auburn, he was a member of Sigma Alpha Epsilon fraternity. He was Sports editor of the "Auburn Plainsman" for two years, a member of Omicron Delta Kappa Honor Society, Who's Who in American Colleges and Universities, and Scabbard and Blade honorary military society.
Stuart and Rose met and dated while students at Auburn and were married January 20, 1951, in Newport, Rhode Island. He served on a destroyer during the Korean War as Combat Information Center and Operations Officer. Upon release from active duty in 1953, he continued in the Naval Air Reserve with squadrons based at Atlanta and New Orleans. He retired from naval service with the rank of Commander in June 1971.
Stuart was employed by Southern Bell Telephone Company's headquarters Public Relations Department in Atlanta starting in 1954. Subsequently, he served in various management assignments in the company's Public Relations, Commercial, Marketing, and Personnel departments in Shreveport, Baton Rouge, New Orleans, Birmingham, Montgomery, and Mobile where he retired in December 1991. He earned an LLB degree from Atlanta Law School in 1957 and after retiring from BellSouth taught management courses for six years as an Adjunct Professor at the University of South Alabama.
Throughout his career, Stuart was active in the community and civic affairs. As a member of the Junior Chamber of Commerce in Atlanta, his editorship of the chapter's monthly magazine won a first-place national Jaycee award for excellence in 1958. He earned the Julian V. Boehme award as Atlanta's Jaycee of the Year for 1959.
While in Birmingham, he was President of the Shades Valley Kiwanis Club and a Lieutenant Governor for the Alabama Kiwanis District. He was a Kiwanian in Montgomery and Mobile and, in retirement, a member of Rotary in Fairhope and Cashiers, North Carolina.
Stuart served in United Way speakers' bureaus and fundraising activity in Birmingham, Montgomery, and in Mobile where he was a Vice President and Campaign Chairman in 1990. He was a Red Cross Board member in Montgomery, a two-term Mobile Bay Area Chairman, and a Chairman of the Alabama Council. He served as Dean of the 1990 class of Leadership Mobile, Chairman of Mobile United, Vice President of the Mobile Area Chamber of Commerce, President of the Mobile Council of the Navy League, and a member of the Board of Directors of the Mobile Council of the Boy Scouts, Mobile Opera, Baldwin County United, Alabama Association of Independent Colleges and Universities, radio station WHIL-FM, Mercy Hospital, and the Board of Trustees of Leadership Alabama.
In retirement, Stuart enjoyed sailing, playing golf, and traveling with Rose. A lifelong communicant of the Episcopal Church, he served as senior warden of St. Luke's Episcopal Church in Birmingham in 1979 to 1980 and a junior warden for St. Thomas in Birmingham 2008 to 2010. Stuart spent the last few years caring for his beloved Rose.
A memorial service will be held Friday, May 31 at 10:00 AM at Southern Heritage Funeral Home. Visitation will be from 9:00 AM to 10:00 AM prior. Burial will be held at Greenwood Serenity Memorial Gardens in Montgomery, Alabama at 1:00 PM.
In lieu of flowers, donations may be made in Stuart's honor to the:
- Shelby County Humane Society
- St. Luke's Episcopal Church
- Auburn Veterinary School
- Folds of Honor
Published in The Birmingham News on May 29, 2019