Stephenson Tales

Lucy Chase Obituary

Lucy Chase Stephenson, 88, died peacefully on March 19, 2011, with her family beside her. Lucy was born June 18, 1922, to Thomas Elbert and Lucy Chase (Denny) Wright (Slosson).

She grew up in Ann Arbor, where she met her future husband at her sixth birthday party. Lucy married Jim Bob Stephenson on Aug. 18, 1945. They lived in Ann Arbor, Manhattan, Kan., Carbondale, Ill., and Kent, Ohio, spending all summers in Interlochen since 1954. They retired to Interlochen in 1988.

Lucy received her Bachelor of Arts and Master of Arts degrees from the University of Michigan.

During World War II, Lucy served on the University of Michigan Women's War Board, providing day care to children whose mothers were employed at the Willow Run Bomber Plant. Then she was employed as a social worker at New York's University Settlement House, where she was responsible for children housed there.

Lucy shared her husband's passion for theater and the arts. Together they taught creative dramatics wherever they lived and coauthored several plays. She was an adjunct instructor of theater at Kent State University and assisted as director for Children's Theater at Pathfinder School in Traverse City. She was part of the group that founded the Traverse City Children's Theater. Lucy loved visiting Broadway. She attended everything she could at the Interlochen Arts Academy.

Religion was always an important part of Lucy's life. She was a member of the Suttons Bay Congregational Church and was a member of the United Church of Christ in Kent. She served as guest minister at various churches, studied holistic healing and spiritual teaching and generously counseled many people.

Lucy was passionate about justice, equal rights for all people, peace and humanity. In response to discrimination, in 1960 Lucy founded the first International House to provide welcoming, affordable housing for foreign students and U.S. students of color attending Kansas State University.

More than anything, Lucy treasured spending time with loved ones. She valued meaningful conversation, spiritual exploration and personal growth. She loved her family, all children and every baby she ever encountered. She never outgrew her wonder at the beauty in nature.

Lucy is survived by her husband of 65 years, Jim Bob Stephenson; sons, John (Claire), of Interlochen, and Robert (Jamie), of Okemos; daughters, Lucky (Dan) McKeen, of Fife Lake, Evelyn Loftin, of Ravenna, Ohio, Robin Preston, of Tallahassee, Fla., and Toni (Gary) Manning, of Suttons Bay; 13 grandchildren; six great-grandchildren; sisters, Mary Elizabeth Fearnehough, of Saline, Flora May Wuellner, of Sacramento, Calif., and Edith Bell, of Potosi, Mo.; and many nieces, nephews and extended family.

She was preceded in death by her parents; stepfather, Preston W. Slosson; and granddaughter, Jennifer Bennett.

A celebration of Lucy's life will be held 2:00 pm, Saturday, June 18, 2011 on the family's boathouse roof overlooking her beloved Duck Lake, as she wished. The family will greet friends starting at 1:30pm.

Memorial contributions may be made to Munson Hospice.

Please visit Lucy's webpage to sign the online guestbook or share a message with her family.

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