Jack Stephens, 89, a lifelong resident of Jonesboro passed away on Feb. 6, 2013, at Heritage of Peachtree in Fayette County. Jack was born on Sept. 10, 1923, the fourth of five children to EscaLee Stephens, Sr. and Mary Pearl McMullen Stephens. He was preceded in death by brothers Richard, William G. “Bill,” E.L. and sister Dorothy Stephens McBrayer. Jack graduated from Jonesboro High School in 1941, and began working for Proctor and Gamble, delivering Duzsoap door-to-door in cities throughout the eastern United States. He was in Washington, D.C., on Dec. 7, 1941, and joined those outside the White House as they learned of Pearl Harbor.
While his older brothers entered military service, Jack was ruled medically ineligible due to a hernia. He began working at Bell Aircraft (now Lockheed) in Marietta and following a friendly conversation with a gentleman during a dice game at his Ponce de Leon boarding house, Jack found himself in Kingston, Jamaica, working for the War Food Administration. As a special assistant and program supervisor, Jack recruited, organized and deployed workers to various farms that produced the food to feed soldiers in combat. Jack entered the Army at the end of WWII and while his recognized “meticulous attention for details” landed him a finance clerk position, he did complete paratrooper training at Fort Benning before leaving military service.
Back home, Jack apprenticed with local woodworkers before opening his first wood-cabinet shop in downtown Jonesboro. Jack would operate a wood shop for the rest of his life. In addition, he and his brother Bill ran pool halls in both Jonesboro and Fayetteville during the 1950’s. He also operated a restaurant. Jack worked for the U.S. Postal Service for 28 years as a rural mail carrier, covering all of Clayton County’s rural areas.
Jack was a Master Mason and member of Jonesboro Lodge #87, F&AM, for over 67 years. He was recognized in 2001 by the Jonesboro First United Methodist Church as the “longest-time member” of the congregation with 69 years. Jack was an avid golfer for most of his life and also enjoyed fly-fishing. He traveled the United States and Canada in addition to spending many enjoyable months with friends near Fairhope, Ala. He bought a plane before obtaining his pilot’s license. Jack learned blacksmithing. He produced a large garden each year and provided tomatoes and hot peppers to fellow residents while in assisted living. Jack loved visiting with his friends in the woodshop around the stove and waving to all who passed his home of 77 years. He was humble, private and fiercely independent but could not hide his caring nature from those who knew him best. Although he had no children, he was a fun-loving and generous “uncle” to his nieces and nephews.
Jack is survived by nephews Tom McBrayer (Peggy) of Peachtree City; Sam McBrayer of Jonesboro; nieces Laura Ali-Talha (Larbi) of Fayetteville; Kay Owens (Larry) of Thomasville; great-nieces, great-nephews, and a great-great-nephew. A memorial service will be held at the Jonesboro First United Methodist Church, 142 South Main Street, Jonesboro, Ga. 30236, on Saturday, Feb. 16, with visitation at 10 a.m., service at 11 a.m. Interment will follow at the Jonesboro Cemetery. SouthCare Cremation and Funeral Society in Stockbridge. 770-692-1181.