Obituary of Clell Stephenson
Clell R. Stephenson was born January 18, 1948 in Kansas City, Missouri, the son of Clell Columbus Stephenson and Ruth Marie (Nauyoke) Stephenson. He passed away Wednesday evening, December 19, 2018 surrounded by family. He joined a brother, Charles Albert Stephenson, and a sister, Shirley Jo Stephenson in a house on Quincy Street in Kansas City, MO. A mischievous streak was noted early on, and Clell became quite familiar with the receiving end of a willow switch, handpicked from his grandmother's tree in her backyard. He loved baseball, singing, and clowning around. Whenever things got too out of control, big sister Shirley was always there to put him back on the right track.
Clell attended East High School in Kansas City. It was here where he met his other half, Linda Johnson. The two were married on July 12, 1969 in Ruskin Heights Baptist Church in Kansas City, and "Team Stephenson" became official. Clell's knack for bringing people of different backgrounds together was on full display, as 20 nuns from the Little Sisters of the Poor attended the union.
After receiving a teaching degree from Central Missouri State University, now University of Central Missouri, Clell and Linda set off on a grand adventure in Australia. The two spent a year teaching in Wagga Wagga, New South Wales, then left the wilds of Australia for the tall grass prairies of Kansas. They welcomed their first child, Sara, in 1976. Shortly after, they moved to Clinton where they bought a house and put down roots. They welcomed Libby, their second child, in 1979.
Clinton High School became Clell's second home. He taught a variety of subjects for 37 years, including Speech, History, English, and Psychology. If the doors to CHS were open, Clell was there. He was the drama director, speech and debate coach, golf coach, Quiz Bowl coach, football announcer, and basketball timekeeper. Clell loved working with teenagers, and genuinely cared for each of his students as if they were his own child. In 1988, Clell received his master's degree in Secondary Education Curriculum and Instruction from CMSU.
Clell loved live theater and became part of the local community theater scene. He both directed and acted in several productions, including "The Hound of the Baskervilles", "A Christmas Carol", "My Three Angels", and "Blythe Spirit".
He "retired" in 2004 and promptly took up teaching again at State Fair Community College and Clinton Christian Academy. He continued to be involved in the Clinton community, acting and directing for the Heartland Community Theater, volunteering at Golden Valley Memorial Hospital, playing bridge, and speaking at numerous civic clubs and community events. He was an honorary member and Paul Harris Fellow with the Clinton Rotary Club, and was a charter member of the Tuesday Night Fellowship Group.
Clell had a deep and abiding faith in God, and was committed to serving God wherever and whenever he was called. A member of the First Baptist Church for over 40 years, he sang in the choir, served on the Sesquicentennial Committee, led Bible studies, and taught Sunday school. He also worked as a pulpit supply speaker and enriched many congregations with his ability to bring Scripture to life.
Clell was never happier, however, than when he was spending time with his four grandchildren; Garrett, Stephen, Olivia and Sammy. They brought him joy, and he shared his love of history, theater, baseball, golf, God, and mischief with them.
He is survived by his wife Linda Stephenson; daughters, Sara Snyder (Chris), and Libby Hernandez (Mike); grandchildren, Garrett, Stephen, Olivia and Sammy; sister, Shirley Colvin; nieces, Rena Watts (Paul), and Tina Siddon (Michael); and cousins, Susan Hunn (Paul), Justin Evans (Patty), and Michelle Knight (Eric). He was welcomed to his heavenly home by his father; mother; brother; and several wonderful friends.
Funeral services will be at 11:00 a.m. Friday, December 28, 2018 at the First Baptist Church, 1531 North Vansant Road, Clinton, MO. The family will receive friends Thursday evening from 6:00 to 8:00 p.m. at the Bradley & Hadley Funeral Home, Clinton. Interment will be in Englewood Cemetery. The family suggests memorial contributions to Aquila and Priscilla Scholarship Fund at First Baptist Church or Heartland Community Theater. These donations may be left in care of the funeral home.