Leon Stephens was surrounded by family when he passed away at the graceful age of 90 on Friday, March 15, 2019 at the Veteran’s Medical Hospice Center in Brockton, Massachusetts. Leon was born to Richard C. Stephens and Helen (Alexander) Stephens Knox (both Deceased) as one of 12 children in Newburn, Alabama on February 06, 1929.
To send flowers in memory of Leon Stephens, please visit our Heartfelt Sympathies Store.
He attended Parker High School in Birmingham, AL and attended LaSalle University in Chicago, IL. At age 13, he helped on a United States Navy Ship as the Cook’s helper and he joined the United States Navy when he became of age, later serving in World War II. 5 of those years were spent as an Armed Service Police Officer and 2 of those years as a Prisoner Chaser for the First Naval District in Boston, MA. As a part-time job in the 70’s, he became a Senior Clerk in the Parking Department of the Roxbury Municipal Court of MA.
From 1968 to 1978, Leon was the owner and operator of Stephens Market, Inc. on Humboldt Avenue in Boston which included a barbershop, grocery store, meat market, and TV repair shop. From 1978 to 1992, he moved the business to Heath Street in Jamaica Plain, MA where the business name changed to Stephens Liquors and he became one of the first men of color to own a liquor license in the state of Massachusetts. He also owned and operated Stephens Restaurant on the same block as Stephens Liquors. In 1993, he retired back home in Newburn, AL and later spent his final years in Boston.
Leon enjoyed riding his red Harley Davidson motorcycle. He was a talented barber, television and electronics repair man, and a loyal member at Ebenezer Baptist Church in Boston. He proudly held the title of Right Worshipful Grand Junior Warden in the Prince Hall Grand Lodge of Massachusetts; he was a 33o Past Master of Union Lodge No. 1; he was a First Ceremony Master in the Holy Consistory No. 17; and a member of Syria Temple No. 31. (Include the Masonic orgs in AL also). He has inspired us to be great business owners, cooks, law enforcement officials, electricians, and whatever “makes you feels good.”
He has uplifted us with compliments and constantly reminded us that we could do anything. He gave us great advice like how to be “the man,” how to “listen good,” and he would encourage us by saying, “you’ve gotta look up.” Regardless of the career you choose, remember his words, “No matter what job you do, don’t be ashamed to do it. Go home, wash up, put on some a-la-ka-smella, and look like everythang in the world what to do it!” As we move about in our daily lives, we will remember his last words, “God is so good. Just wait on Him.”
Throughout his life, he had several loving relationships, which included several marriages: Pearl with whom he begot Leon (FL); Adeline Johnson (Deceased) with whom he begot Derek L. Johnson (MA); Loretta (Rhodes) Stephens (Deceased) with whom he begot 7 children (MA): Leon M. Stephens (Deceased), Elnora M. (Stephens) Miles, Scoba E. Stephens (Deceased), Helen F. Stephens (Robert Payton), Anthony J. Stephens (VA), Vincent H. Stephens, and Loretta M. Stephens (VA); Business partner and wife Gladys (Alford) Stephens (MA-Deceased); and Sharon (Christian) Stephens with whom he begot 2 daughters: Rebekah J. Stephens and Rachel J. Stephens (WI).
Leon is survived by 10 siblings – McCoy Stephens (AL), Johnson Stephens (AL), Helen Avery (AL), Eunice Lapsley-Jones (CA), Louise Brown (CA), Bernard Stephens (AL), Herman Stephens (MI), Alonzo Washington (AL), Alma Washington (AL), and James Washington (LA); 25 grandchildren; 9 great grandchildren; and a host of nieces, nephews, cousins, other relatives and friends.
He was proceeded in death by his siblings Margaret Mitchell (FL), Richard Stephens Jr (IL), Ernestine Carey (OH), and Henry Stephens (PA).
A Wake will be held on Tuesday March 26, 2019 from 5:00 to 9:00pm at Prince Hall Grand Lodge, 24 Washington St., Dorchester. There will also be a Viewing on Wednesday March 27 from 10:00 to 10:30 followed by Funeral Service at 10:30am at Ebenezer Baptist Church, 157 W. Springfield St., Boston, MA 02117.
Interment: Massacusetts National Cemetery, Bourne, MA
Funeral arrangements entrusted to Riley-Antoine Funeral Home.