Benjamin Franklin Stephens affectionately known as “Steve”, “Daddy Steve” and “Benny” was born on June 24, 1928 in Marianna, Florida to Bead and Odessa Stephens. As the fourth oldest of 14, Benjamin helped to raise many of his siblings. He attended Florida A&M University with an interest in Agriculture - as his family had a very large peanut and cotton farm.
He left Marianna and headed to New York to pursue his dreams in the “Big Apple”. He worked in the hospitality field in the Theater District as a caterer and server and offered private culinary services for many executives in the New York area, including the President of Wall Street. He had an outgoing and charismatic spirit which allowed him to excel in his field. He enjoyed his work because as we all know, his passion was talking to people and sharing his experiences. He was a good listener and an even greater counselor, often giving his opinion (even when unwarranted) if he believed it to be needed.
Benjamin was an activist with great involvement in the civil rights movement in the 1960s – helping to shed light on the many injustices and helped to make changes within the neighborhood where he resided. As a mentor and employee supporter, he assisted in several labor disputes and many times, played the role of mediator and voice of reason. Benjamin was a faithful Deacon at Browns Memorial Baptist church in Brooklyn, NY. He had a strong, devoted and transparent love for God. He displayed that daily in his life through his love for people and family. While attending a fashion show there, he met the woman who became the love of his life, his beloved wife, Betty Joyce Stephens. They fell in love, got married and recently celebrated 57 wonderful years together on 8/12/2019.
After several decades in the New York area, Benjamin and Betty moved to Silver Spring, MD in 2001 to be closer to their children. He became a member of Resurrection Baptist Church in Silver Spring, Maryland. As an active Deacon, he supported several ministries, taught Sunday School and Vacation Bible School, and was a minister to the sick and bereaved. He served on the Deacon Board as well as the church choir. In his spare time, Benjamin was an active volunteer at the local senior center. He loved playing golf and cooking and thoroughly enjoyed spending time with his grandchildren. Family was everything to our dad. He was the type of man that would instantly connect with people everywhere that he went. He would give you the shirt off his back or his last dime.
Benjamin leaves to cherish his memory: His loving wife, Betty Stephens; Brothers and Sisters: William D. Stephens, Omega Stephens, Lillie C. Person; Children, Keith Stephens, Stacy McGann, and Renee Stephens; Grand Children: Demond Merritt, Kimya Jeffrey, Christopher Stephens, Keith Stephens Jr., Nikki Stephens,
Jonathan McGann, Christopher McGann, 5 great-grandchildren, 4 great-great-grandchildren and a host of relatives and friends.