Cover photo for John Ward Stephenson's Obituary
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1946 John 2023

John Ward Stephenson

December 6, 1946 — November 11, 2023

John Stepheson, 76, a lifelong resident of Orange, Texas, passed away peacefully on November 11, 2023, in Houston, Texas with his children by his side.

Following John’s wishes, in lieu of a traditional funeral service, friends and family are invited to a dinner in his honor and to share their favorite memories of John. Under the direction of Claybar Funeral Home, dinner will be held at JB’s BBQ, which will be open one last time, from 3:00 p.m. to 5:00 p.m., Wednesday, December 6, 2023 with military honors provided by Southeast Texas Veterans Group at 3:00 p.m. Whether you were family, a friend, or even just an acquaintance, if you’ve ever gone out to lunch with John, it was probably at JB’s.

Born in Dallas, Texas, on December 6, 1946, he was the son of Ward and Jane Stephenson. John went to Lutcher Stark High School and graduated from Kemper Military Academy in Boonville, Missouri in 1965, before going on to Sam Houston State University to earn his degree. He very proudly served his country as a Sergeant in The United States Marine Corps, so it was only fitting that he passed on Veteran’s Day.

John was a faithful man and grew up attending First United Methodist Church in Orange. In his younger years he enjoyed spending his spare time hunting and being out on the water fishing. As a kid, he and his friends would spend most of their time shooting guns and camping in the woods behind his house, not letting the yells of feral cats deter them from having fun. If those woods could talk, you would think the stories you’d hear were made up. They would, in fact, be true stories of all of the crazy things those boys would get into- like when they would ride horses, sometimes even trying to rope each other and get themselves pulled off the horses. No matter what he was he doing, John always found a way to make it fun.

As an adult, John became a Real Estate Broker and Land Developer starting his own business, J. Stephenson and Company. He enjoyed working in the community for many years and volunteering as a member of the Kiwanis club. John loved his friends, and his routine, dearly. Most mornings his group of buddies would meet up at his office or at Herman’s Service Station to run errands like going to the bank and the post office before getting breakfast. After breakfast they would often ride around and take trips down memory lane talking about the good ol’ days and how Orange used to be. They could ride around and reminisce for hours, as long as he was home by 11 to watch Gunsmoke.

If you knew John, you knew he had a larger than life personality. He was always willing to help others but never let anyone know if something was wrong with him, not wanting to burden his loved ones with worry. Even though he had battled a life long illness with Multiple Sclerosis, he never let it get him down. John was a loving father, grandfather, and friend to many. He will be dearly missed by all who knew and loved him.

John is preceded in death by his parents, Ward and Jane Stephenson.

Those left to cherish his memory include his daughter, Jane Elizabeth Stephenson; son, Kenna Ward Stephenson and wife Leslie; grandchildren, Jaclyn Elizabeth Logsdon, Clayton Mize, Kollin Stephenson, and Olivia Stephenson; brother, Tom Stephenson and wife Sue; niece, Angela Abshire; and his nephew, Tom Kenna- affectionately referred to by John as Little Tom”; along with numerous other loving family and dear friends.
To order memorial trees or send flowers to the family in memory of John Ward Stephenson, please visit our flower store.

Service Schedule

Past Services


Wednesday, December 6, 2023

3:00 - 5:00 am (Central time)

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Military Honors

Wednesday, December 6, 2023

Starts at 3:00 pm (Central time)

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