The Heroines

Mary E. Hester Stephenson

is honored with a Large Paver from Marylin Werschky.

Kansas native, Mary Elizabeth Hester Stephenson was born in Wichita on March 29, 1912. She attended Cathedral High School, graduating in the class of 1929.

Mary Elizabeth graduated from Municipal University of Wichita in the class of 1933 in the College of Education. She fondly remembers faculty members Dr. Hazel Branch, Laura Cross and Dr. John Ryjord (History). A member of Pi Kappa Psi sorority, she reflects that there was always a bridge game at the sorority house and EVERYONE went to the "Bucket" for cokes, coffee and conversation.

Following graduation she taught physical education at Roosevelt High School, Des Moines, Iowa from 1935-37 and was a faculty member at Iowa State College, Ames, Iowa from 1938-41. From 1942-44 she was stationed in Washington D.C. as a member of the National Staff USO, working as a consultant for USO throughout the country.

Mary Elizabeth married William Craig Stephenson in 1945 and set up housekeeping in Kansas City, Kansas. While in Kansas City, she served on Deanery Council of Catholic Women. The Stephensons left Kansas City in 1951 to take up residence in Maryville, MO. From 1951-1987, Mary E. and her husband owned and operated a fabric store and children's toggery. For 30 years she was active in community service to Maryville. Mary Elizabeth was a 30+ year member of Soroptimist International, President of the Girl Scout Council, Chairperson of the United Way, President of the Maryville Chamber of Commerce and a member of the Maryville City Council. She was the recipient of many community service awards. Mary Elizabeth was widowed in 1990, but continued to reside in Maryville until 1992.

Desiring to watch her grandchildren grow up, play bridge and enjoy easy living, Mary E. retired to St. Helena, CA in 1992. She has two daughters - Kathleen Ann Stephenson Colberg and Mary Martha Stephenson Papale - and two grandchildren - Catharine and Christopher Stephenson Papale.

Definitely a role model for women and a heroine in the eyes of many whose lives she has touched, Mary E. currently resides (1998) in St. Helena, CA.

August 31, 1998