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James Howell Stephenson

By Staff
August 20, 2005
Funeral for James Howell Stephenson, 86, of Hartselle was Tuesday, Aug. 23, at 11 a.m. at Peck Funeral Home Chapel with Dr. Ron Wilson, Dr. Jeff Redmond, and the Rev. W. K. Stephenson officiating.
Burial was in Hartselle City Cemetery.
Mr. Stephenson died Saturday, Aug. 20, 2005, at his residence. He was born July 23, 1919, in Hartselle to George K. Stephenson and Lucille Howell Stephenson. He was a member of First Baptist Church of Hartselle for 77 years.
A 1937 graduate of Morgan County High School, he attended Alabama Polytechnic Institute (Auburn University) on a football scholarship. After injuring his knee, he joined and became captain of the track team where he competed in the discus throw, shot, javelin and high mump. He graduated in 1941 with a degree in Agricultural Science. He was a member of the Auburn A-Club and inducted into both the Hartselle High School and Morgan County Sports Hall of Fame.
Upon graduation, Mr. Stephenson worked with the Alabama Extension Service. At the end of World War II, he went into business with his father at Stephenson Hardware and Appliance in downtown Hartselle, Later, he managed a dairy farm on his great-grandfather's land on Bethel Road for many years. He was a director of American Bank and Trust, now Regions Bank, and a charter member of the Kiwanis Club of Hartselle.
Mr. Stephenson was instrumental in organizing the first Little League team in Hartselle. He and Ed Summers organized a baseball team and traveled to Cullman to play a practice game. Hartselle's team could not get Cullman's team out, and in the first inning with a score of 19-0, the game was called. Mr. Stephenson realized that for Hartselle to complete, players must begin playing much earlier. He received a copy of the Little League rules from Dr. Kermit Pitt of Decatur and with help from Charlie Beene, Robert Street and C. L. Orr, the first Hartselle Little League team was formed. The American Legion allowed the team to use their grounds for the fields. Stephenson Hardware and Appliance supplied the equipment.
Mr. Stephenson is survived by his wife of 62 years, Mary Ella Kidd Tinsley Stephenson of Hartselle; two sons, James Howell Stephenson Jr. and wife Sharon and George Kidd Stephenson and wife Dena, all of Hartselle; a daughter, Anne Stephenson Knowlton and husband Bobby of Hartselle; seven grandchildren, Jay Knowlton, Kelley Knowlton Hopkins, Charlie Knowlton, Meeda Stephenson, William Stephenson, James H. Stephenson III, William Wood Stephenson; and three great-grandchildren, Elijah Robert Hopkins and Ella Caroline and Emma Tinsley Knowlton; and one brother, Rev. W. K. Stephenson and wife Margaret.
Pallbearers were grandchildren, Jay Knowlton, Charlie Knowlton, Shane Hopkins, James H. Stephenson III, William Wood Stephenson and Mike Murphy.
Honorary pallbearers were former members of Region Bank Board of Directors and Charlie Jones, Earl Cook and J.P. Cain.
Memorials may be made to Alacare Hospice and Home Health Fund of Alabama, 4752 Hwy. 280 East, Birmingham, AL 35242.