Nancy Stephens

Formerly of Sumpter

Nancy (Howe) Stephens, 80, formerly of Sumpter, died peacefully at her home in Springfield on Aug. 26, 2021, after valiantly battling vascular dementia.

No services are planned.

The daughter of Robert and Gladys Howe, Nancy was the youngest of six children. Born in Akron, Ohio, she moved to Santa Barbara, California, at age 12. After graduating from Santa Barbara High School, she met and married Ronald Stephens with whom she had three children, before they later divorced.

Although she loved Santa Barbara, she also appreciated the rugged beauty of the high desert in Eastern Oregon, where her father had built a cabin before he passed away, so Nancy chose to raise her children in both locations: Santa Barbara and Sumpter. Nancy was fiercely independent and worked full-time as a single parent she while attending Santa Barbara Business College where she completed an accounting certificate. She worked as a food server, bank teller, office manager, and purchasing assistant. She cared about making her community a better place and volunteered at Transition House in Santa Barbara and served on the Sumpter Valley Railroad Restoration Project.

Nancy enjoyed writing and had two stories published in “Venus Rising,” a small independent journal based in Santa Barbara.Nancy enjoyed playing cards, especially pinochle, with her siblings. She also enjoyed playing mahjong, reading, Sudoku, taking long walks, and working on her rose bushes.

Nancy is lovingly remembered by her children, her sons, Ron Stephens and his wife, Melissa, of Greer, South Carolina, and Rick Stephens of Springfield and his former wife, Valerie Webb; and her daughter, Caryn Stephens of Springfield. Nancy was blessed to have a large extended family and is survived by her sisters, Carolyn Castagnola and Jessie Holguin; her brother, Warren Howe, and his wife, Jan Karon; her grandchildren, Stormy, Philip, Sara and Cassandra; 10 great-grandchildren; two great-great-granddaughters; and many nieces and nephews.

Nancy was preceded in death by her beloved granddaughter, Melanie Beth Stephens; and her brothers, Frank Howe and Norman Howe.

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Nancy was always such a sweet lady who treated all of Caryn’s friends like family. I spent a lot of time at Nancy’s house and always enjoyed it. She will always be remember as one of my Sumpter Moms. My thoughts and prayers go out to get family, especially Caryn whom I know has been taking care of her Mom for a long time. I’m sure your Mom was very grateful for everything. I could see on Facebook that you worked tirelessly to make her quality of life the best it could be these past several years.

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