View Archive


Aug. 7, 1906-May 26, 2011

CLAYTON -- Merle Allen Stephenson, 104, died Thursday morning in Smithfield Manor.

Born Aug. 7, 1906, in Johnston County to the late Robert Henry and Emma Jane Strickland Allen, she was the widow of Raymond Young Stephenson, who died Aug. 23, 1986.

Merle was preceded in death by a son, Robert Macon Stephenson, and a granddaughter, Dianne Hight.

A member of Johnston Union Free Will Baptist Church since 1942, she taught Sunday school and served as the church clerk for many years. She was recently presented a plaque as the oldest living member of the Original Free Will Baptist organization.

She was recognized as the first "Woman of the Year" for the Cape Fear District of the women's auxiliary, serving as the president at the time.

In 1971, she was awarded a Life Membership Award from the State Auxiliary District.

She was a member of Wilson's Mills Homemaker's Club, Wilson's Mills Home Demonstration Club, where she served in all the offices at one time or another.

She had served as the Johnston County Cancer Society president, a local, district and state officer of the War Mothers organization and as a community leader and vice-president of the county 4-H leaders.

Merle also worked hard to raise money for Mount Olive College, and was honored with a tree planted in her name at the college.

Funeral services will be conducted at 11 a.m. Wednesday at Johnston Union Free Will Baptist Church. Burial will follow in Pinecrest Memorial Park in Clayton.

Surviving are sons, Max Stephenson and wife, Gail, of Greenville and Jackie Stephenson of Garner; daughter, Anne Daughtry and husband, Don, of Goldsboro; eight grandchildren; two stepgrandchildren; 16 great-grandchildren; three stepgreat-grandchildren; and two great-great-grandchildren.

The family will receive friends from 7 to 9 p.m. Tuesday at Underwood Funeral Home.

Flowers are acceptable or memorials may be made to Mount Olive College, 634 Henderson St., Mount Olive, N.C., 28365.

Condolences may be sent to the family at underwoodfh.com.


Published in Obituaries on May 27, 2011 1:48 PM