Barbara Stephenson 1936-2023


Barbara Stephenson of Mineola passed away peacefully on Feb. 16, 2023 at age 86. 

Barbara Catherine Stephenson was born in Bemidji, Minn. on June 23, 1936 to the late Basset Charles Vaughn and Catherine Florence Richards Vaughan. She was raised on an Indian reservation and greatly appreciated the Native American culture, donating back to the reservations, tribes and Indian museums later in life.

Barbara’s faith and military service were two of the most important aspects of her life. After graduating high school, she went on to become a nun, but left before her final vows so that she could join the United States Air Force. She served her country proudly and honorably for 27 years before retiring as chief master sergeant. Most of her working career was also spent working for the Air Force as a data processor. 

On Sept. 9, 1976, she married the love of her life, Richard Earl Stephenson. They were married nine wonderful years before his passing in 1984. She was a faithful member of the Holy Trinity Catholic Church in Belleville, Ill. and was very dedicated to the Sister Clare’s. Barbara was also a member of the Zonta Club.  

In her free time she enjoyed volunteering at the library to help give books to children, loved art and was an avid antiquer. Her spunky spirit will be missed by all who knew her.

She was preceded in death by her parents, Bassett Charles Vaughan and Catherine Florence Vaughan; and husband, Richard Earl Stephenson.

Left to cherish her memory is her sister-in-law, Lynda Stanley of Mineola; nieces and nephews, Gayna Christian and husband Russell of Mineola, Debbie Yarbrough, Jim Stanley and Richard Stanley; several great nieces and nephews; and special friends, Bob and Nancy Jurke, Kathy Hoffman and Dale Loiseau.

The family would like to extend a special thank you to the staff at Autumn Winds Assisted Living in Mineola for their kindness, compassion and always taking such great care of Barbara.

Graveside service will be held at 11 a.m. Friday, Feb. 24, 2023 at Roselawn Memorial Gardens in Mineola.  She will be laid to rest next to her husband with full military honors.

In lieu of flowers, please consider a donation in memory of Barbara to Autumn Winds or Hospice of East Texas. 

Autumn Winds Assisted Living

135 Autumn Wind Court

Mineola, TX 75773

Hospice of East Texas

4111 University Blvd

Tyler, TX 75701