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Lester Ray Stephens

Lester Ray Stephens passed into the presence of his Lord November 27, 2014 at his apartment in assisted living in Medford. His wife and youngest daughter were by his side at his home going. He was 87 years of age.

Lester was born September 15, 1927 to Leo and Mabel Stephens at their home at Evans Creek. He lived most of his life in the Rogue Valley. He grew up during the Great Depression and knew the rigors of those years. He began school at Wimer Grade School in Rogue River. Then the family moved to Northern California and later returned to Oregon, where he attended Rogue River high school. Following 10th grade, he left school and went to work. While working at Clutes Hop Yard as a teenager, he became aware of a young lady co-worker named Grace Best. They began dating and were married November 16, 1945. Three days later he was drafted into the U.S. Army, but was honorably discharged six months later. He continued to help his family on the farm, as well as working at other jobs; then at the age of twenty-two, he operated a sawmill at Applegate for two years.

In 1948, Lester and Grace committed their lives to Jesus Christ as Savior and Lord, and Christian ministry became very important to them. In 1953, with 2 young daughters, he moved the family to Portland where he attended Multnomah School of the Bible. Shortly after receiving his diploma, he was called back to Pastor their home church, Provolt Community Church. He served at Provolt for three years, but he had a continuing desire to go into teaching, so he went on to further his studies. He received a Bachelor of Science from Southern Oregon College with honors, a Bachelor of Theology from Multnomah, and a Master of Religious Education from Western Baptist Seminary in Portland. In addition, he studied for a year at Dallas Theological Seminary in Texas.

He was Senior Advisor and taught Bible and social studies classes at Portland Christian High School for two years. He also served as Pastor of Moreland Bible Church in Portland for two years. In 1964, the family moved back to Southern Oregon where Lester pastored at two churches over the next 30 years -- Ruch Community Bible Church and Foots Creek Chapel. He also found enjoyment in developing home sites on rural lands.

Lester was sometimes spoken of as a man of compassion, helping out or taking in others in need. He loved his family; he enjoyed his work; and he liked the outdoors, especially cutting wood and hunting.

Lester is survived by Grace, his dear wife and companion of 69 years; three daughters, Carol Jones (Harlan) of Portland, Glenna Houston (Ed) of Canada, and Sheryl Bright (Jeff) of Grants Pass; four grandchildren; and seven great-grandchildren. His only brother, Calvin, and an infant son preceded him in death.

A Memorial service will be held at 2:00 p.m. Saturday, December 6, 2014 at Ruch Community Bible Church. Graveside service and burial will be at 2:00 p.m. Friday, December 5, 2014 Logtown Cemetery, Jacksonville. Arrangements are being handled by Abbey Funeral in Medford.

Please share your memories or express your condolences in the online guest book: http://www.dignitymemorial.com/abbey-funeral.

Lester Ray Stephens