Allen Roosevelt Stephens, Jr. was affectionately known as “Big Al” to many. He was born on July 20, 1933 in Ruffin, South Carolina to the late Roosevelt Stephens and Everlena Brown Stephens Newton.
At an early age, Allen gave his life to God and joined Mount Zion Baptist Church. Allen attended public school in Colleton County and graduated from Ruffin High School. He went on to attend school at Voorhees College where he aspired to become a minister. His studies ended In 1954 when he was drafted into the United States Army. As a Korean War veteran he often spoke of his experiences with the people and culture of Korea. When Allen’s tour of duty ended in 1960, he returned home to South Carolina before eventually settling in Brooklyn, New York.
While in Brooklyn, Allen met and later married Ethel Stanley on December 1, 1962. Their union resulted in two daughters, Denean and Allison. Allen supported his family as a truck driver for R-Jo Trucking Company delivering groceries to Key Food Supermarkets. Allen played on the company softball team and joined the Lions Club International. He made many friends during his time in New York, but his most cherished friendship of that time was with Mr. John “Sonny” Herbert, Jr. After more than 30 years living in New York and driving for R-Jo Trucking, Allen retired and returned home to his beloved South Carolina.
Upon his return, Allen became an active member of his community. He worked for the early childhood center that was across the street from his home. Due to the loving touch he put in his food, Allen became known for frying fish and did so around Walterboro at the request of the mayor. Allen continued to serve his country by driving other veterans to and from the hospital and fundraising. He also rejoined Mount Zion Baptist Church and served as a Trustee for a period of time.
At the age of 86 years old, surrounded by his wife, youngest daughter and faithful friend Campanella Pringle, Allen closed his eyes for the last time and accepted the embrace of his loving God on January 11, 2020. He is preceded in death by his brother Sylvester Stephens.
He leaves to celebrate his life and cherish his memory his wife of 57 years Ethel L. Stephens; daughters Denean Stephens-Spellman, Brooklyn, NY and Allison T. Stephens-Crooke, Beaufort, SC.; brother McNeil Stephens, Walterboro, SC; Sister-in-Laws Bernetha Stephens, Walterboro, SC and Katherine T. Gray, Brooklyn, NY; Son-in-Law Stacy L. Spellman, Brooklyn, NY; Grandchildren Michael A. Llewellyn, Beaufort, SC, Osayomi A. Spellman, Brooklyn, NY, Olayinka O. Spellman, Brooklyn, NY, oldest friend John Herbert, Jr., Charlotte, NC, final friend, Campanella Pringle, Walterboro, SC and a host of loving nieces, nephews, great nieces and nephews, relatives and friends.
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Let not your heart be troubled: ye believe in God, believe also in me. In my Father’s house are many mansions; if it were not so, I would have told you. I go to prepare a place for you. And if I go and prepare a place for you, I will come again and receive you to Myself; that where I am, there ye may be also. And whether I go ye know, and the way ye know. John 14 1-4
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