Live Oak —
Former mason instructor at Suwannee-Hamilton Technical Center and Master Mason Henry Lloyd “Babe” Stephens died Saturday, Aug. 31. He was 91.
Stephens fought a brave and lengthy battle with dementia.
He taught for several years at SHTC before beginning his own masonry contractor business.
He was known as a gentle man, but strong.
"He was a big giant, bear of a man with a very gentle heart," said daughter Susie Helvenston. "He was all about family."
April 25, 1922 - Aug. 31, 2013
Henry Lloyd “Babe” Stephens, 91, of Cedar Key, passed away at Suwannee Health Care Center in Live Oak surrounded by his loving family on Aug. 31, 2013, following a lengthy battle with dementia.
He was born on April 25, 1922, to Valera Frances Powell Stephens and Henry Lynn Stephens of Cedar Key, and graduated from Cedar Key High School in 1940. While successfully hiding the fact that he was totally blind in one eye, he enlisted in the US Army Air Corps in January 1942 and proudly served his country until 1945.
Following his marriage to Joyce Beckham in 1952, Lloyd moved to Gainesville to raise a family and to work as a brick and block mason. He helped build the original Shand’s Hospital, The Malcolm Randall Veteran’s Hospital, and numerous structures on University of Florida campus including Hume Hall. From 1968 to 1980, he taught masonry skills at the Suwannee-Hamilton Area Vocational-Technical Center in Live Oak and his largest class project was building Branford High School’s football stadium. During the same years in Live Oak, he was also owner and operator of H.L. Stephens Masonry Contractors. In 1980, Lloyd was asked to implement his masonry skills curriculum at Central Florida Community College in Ocala and was an instructor there for two years.
Retiring for good in 1983, Lloyd returned to his beloved Cedar Key and spent his years renovating his childhood home, fishing, building his own boats and spending time with his children and his grandchildren who called him “D-Daddy”. He also served as a city commissioner, as Dockmaster on the old fishing pier and as President of the Cedar Key Alumni 100 Club. His efforts to compile a list of every CKHS graduate gave him the idea to recognize his classmates who had served during WWII, and on July 4, 1994, a brick monument that displays a bronze plaque inscribed with every Cedar Key serviceman’s name was unveiled in a ceremony at City Hall.
Lloyd was preceded in death by his parents, his infant sisters Rosa Stephens and Mira Stephens, grandson John Earl Stephens, daughter-in-law Barbara Jean Stephens and infant granddaughter Stephanie Lynn Stephens.
He is survived by his wife of 61 years, Joyce Beckham Stephens, children Michael (Annette) Warren, Thomasville, Ga.; Patricia Warren Mills, Jackson, Miss.; Johnny Stephens, Gainesville; Nancy Stephens, Cedar Key; Scott (Anissa) Stephens, Lake City and Susan (Brant) Helvenston, Live Oak; 16 grandchildren and 18 great grandchildren.
Services will be held Saturday, Sept. 7, 2013 at 10 a.m. at Christ Episcopal Church in Cedar Key with interment following in Christ Church Memory Garden. In lieu of flowers, memorial contributions may be made to Christ Episcopal Church Memorial Fund, P.O. Box 210, Cedar Key, FL 32625.
Please sign the guest book at www.harrisfuneralhomeinc.net.
Harris Funeral Home & Cremations, Inc. is in charge of all arrangements.