Hilda Maxine Stephens

Posted: Sunday, October 15, 2000

Anchorage resident Hilda Maxine Stephens died Oct. 11, 2000, at Alaska Regional Hospital after a brief illness. She was 78.

Funeral services will be held at 1 p.m. Monday at the Evergreen Memorial Chapel in Anchorage. Visitation will be at noon. Burial at Fort Richardson National Cemetery will follow the service.

She was born Sept. 11, 1922, in Konawa, Okla., to Thomas and Elpha Mitchell. As a child in the Oklahoma Dust Bowl, she tried to convince her father to move to the Matanuska Valley Farm Colony. She realized her dream of moving to Alaska in 1947, when she took a teaching job at Wrangell, after earning a bachelor's degree at Oklahoma State University. She met her future husband, Ray Stephens, at First Baptist Church in Konawa. He followed her to Alaska and they were married in Juneau on July 7, 1947. The couple taught in communities throughout Alaska, including Atka, Kipnuk, Pilot Station, Chugiak, Koyukuk, Perryville and Moose Pass.

Mrs. Stephens retired from the Kenai Peninsula Borough School District in 1980 after teaching in Moose Pass for 13 years.

Mrs. Stephens enjoyed gardening, word puzzles and using the Internet. She communicated with many of her former students and childhood friends through e-mail.

"She was an adventurer, moving to Alaska as a single woman during the territorial days. Her children, grandchildren and great-grandchildren were great sources of pride to her. She was deeply devoted to her husband, our father, who passed away in December of 1998," the family said.

She is survived by her sisters, Mary Christine Matuk, of Anaheim, Calif.; sons and daughters-in-law, Brant and Debbie Stephens and Charlie and Julie Stephens, of Kenai; son, Clay Stephens, of Anchorage; daughter, Camille Stephens, of Juneau; daughter and son-in-law, Brenda and Tim Fenton, of Anchorage; granddaughters, Yvett Bell and Clicy, Crystal, Coralie, Leah and Ella Stephens; grandsons, Derik and Matthew Porter and Brandon and Nicolas Fenton; and six great-grandchildren.

In lieu of flowers, contributions may be made to the Ray and Maxine Stephens Memorial Scholarship Fund, National Bank of Alaska, Operations Center, P.O. Box 196127 Anchorage, AK 99519-9974. Contributions also may be deposited at any National Bank of Alaska branch. The fund will be used to provide scholarships to students from communities in which the Stephens taught.

Arrangements were made by Evergreen Memorial Chapels in Anchorage.

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