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Obituary: Stephens, Lydia R.

Age 82


Surrounded by family, amid hymns of praise, prayers, and scripture readings our beloved Lydia went home to the Lord on Saturday July 21st, 2012 in Richland, WA. She was 82.
Born Lydia Rodriguez on December 8th, 1929 in Harlingen, TX, she was raised by a mother who believed a strong education and Evangelical principles were essential to success.
She learned to sew at 13 and it was with that ability that she worked her way through high school and on to college.
She attended East Texas Baptist College, Marshall TX 1949-1950. Her family of 11 then moved to the NW in ‘51. She received her BA in Education at Central Wash State College in ‘56. She began teaching English and Spanish at the secondary level first in Prosser, WA (1955-1956), then Richland, WA (‘56-‘58), Connell, WA (‘58-‘63), Priest River, ID (‘65-‘70), and the Central Valley School Dist, Spokane WA (‘70-‘75). Later she developed and taught a Reading and Language Curriculum for the Kennewick, WA School Dist Chapter I Migrant Worker Summer School Program (‘82).
She married Ted R. Stephens (1930-1990) in 1955, bore him four sons and assisted him in the building of a successful restaurant business. She ran a loving home filled with the “Spirit of the Lord”, a loving bond to extended family, music, art, joy, cleanliness, discipline and a spirit of perseverance and humility.
Strong in her Evangelical faith, she was an admired and respected member of the Baptist community in Eastern WA and was often called upon to use her mature faith, biblical knowledge and intellectual skills to teach classes and serve the church.
Always prepared to witness to others when the Lord afforded the opportunity, she was never shy about talking of her faith in Christ,of His mercy, His grace, of “the inner peace of confidently resting on His promises- no matter what”.
Yet perhaps her greatest spiritual gift was her singing. The Lord blessed Lydia with a beautiful pure, soothing low soprano voice thru which His blessings flowed. She sang in church choirs and special solos calling them, “testimony in song”. She often sang these solos unaccompanied…just her and the Holy Spirit within, leaving the listener little doubt whose words they were hearing. She sang in church, she sang at home, she sang in the car, constantly giving voice to the joy and peace within her.
Lydia is survived by her sons, Mark L. Stephens (spouse, Deborah), Troy (Buz) D. Stephens (spouse, Nannette), Tracy J. Stephens, Todd E. Stephens. 12 grandchildren, seven great-grandchildren; sisters: Cristella (Rodriguez) Spurgeon, Anita (Rodriguez) Lopez, Ofelia (Pedraza) Bowls, Eva (Pedraza) Petti, Gloria (Pedraza) Miranda; Brother: Israel Pedraza; and a loving multitude of nieces and nephews, grand nieces and nephews, cousins and relations who will all remember, “Lydia: through life and death, a living testimony and lasting legacy to her Lord and family”.
A visitation will be held Friday, July 27, 2012 from 4:00 - 8:00 p.m. at Thornhill Valley Chapel, 1400 S. Pines Rd., Spokane Valley, WA. Funeral services for Lydia will be held on Saturday, July 28, 2012 at 11:00 am at Valleypoint Church, 714 S. Pines Rd., Spokane Valley. Interment to follow at Pines Cemetery.