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Tuesday, December 7, 2021

Obituary - Louise Stephens Davis

Frances Louise Barker Stephens Davis, 87, was born March 14, 1934, in Clinton, Mo., to Robert Lowell and Bertha Belle (Bennett) Barker. Louise, as she was known to her friends, died Monday afternoon, Dec. 6, 2021, at Citizens Memorial Hospital in Bolivar.
She spent most of her childhood in the Bethlehem Community east of Clinton where she walked to Bethlehem School. She then attended Clinton High School, dropping out after a dispute with school officials over when she would be allowed to take classes in her chosen secretarial field. Louise Barker and Charles Edward Stephens of Clinton were married Nov. 19, 1950, in Clinton. He preceded her in death on Nov. 2, 1984. On April 12, 1997, she was married to neighbor John Joseph Davis, who preceded her in death on Feb. 5, 2002. After their marriage, they moved to a small cabin at the Lake of the Ozarks at Edwards. It was the only time in her 87 years that she lived outside Henry County. Edward and Louise Stephens had three children: Helen Louise, Bessie Frances and James Edward (Eddie). The couple raised their family on the 80-acre family farm east of Clinton in the Star School community. Daughter Frances also preceded her in death on May 4, 1987, after a car accident on Highway 13 just outside of Clinton. As a stay-at-home mom, Louise Stephens raised much of the family’s food on the farm, and by winter each year, the freezer and cellar were full of beef, chicken and vegetables of many kinds. She also was active in community activities and school activities involving her family. She was quick to show up with special treats at one-room Star School like rabbit-shaped cakes or homemade pies for the school auction. She made treks to Sedalia many years to enter her pies, cakes and breads in the Missouri State Fair. And, in the days before 24-7 media, she called the school to alert the teacher, Mrs. Jessie Thompson, to turn on the school’s radio that President John F. Kennedy had been shot. She served as an election judge for years and also was a Democrat committeewoman. She helped with American Heart Association and American Cancer Society fund drives, and, years ago, when someone in the neighborhood died, she made sure the community sent flowers as a group by collecting names and small amounts of money for the flowers. When it was time to take a break, she loved playing canasta with now-departed friends Leta, Betty and Bonnie. She also helped her husband, as needed, in his construction business. After Edward’s death, she moved into town and worked as a cook at the Henry County Senior Center before going to work as a Certified Nurse’s Aide at Westwood Nursing Home, later moving to Golden Valley Memorial Hospital as a CNA until her retirement. She was proud of having been an “Employee of the Month” while at the hospital. Until her later years, she was a consistent blood donor to the American Red Cross. In recent years, she spent much of her time enjoying reruns of Law and Order and its spin-off shows and talking on the phone with her friend and former neighbor, Pat. She had spent the last three months of her life in the Citizens Memorial Healthcare Facility in Bolivar, a stay that originally was planned as temporary due to back issues. Survivors include her son Eddie Stephens and wife Debbie of Clinton; her daughter Helen Sosniecki and husband Gary of Lebanon; six grandchildren: Dustin Stephens and wife Jennifer of Lowry City, Ashley Davis of Overland Park, Kan.; Anna Tucker and husband Chris, Levi Keithley and wife Katrina, and Constance Keithley, all of Clinton; and Randy Ryles of Fristoe; numerous great-grandchildren and great-great-grandchildren; her half-sister, Raylene Ritchie, of Clarendon, Texas; sisters, Georgia Mae Robinson and Lisetta Dean, both of Clinton; and brother Robert Barker of Clinton. Per her request, no formal funeral service is planned. Friends of Louise Stephens Davis may say their goodbyes to her during an open viewing from noon to 8 p.m., Friday, Dec. 10, at Bradley & Hadley Funeral Home in Clinton. No visitation with family is planned. A private family burial service is planned at Englewood Cemetery. Her humble roots and hard times as she grew up following the Great Depression made her a hard-working, strong-willed individual with a big heart for others. While no flowers or memorials are requested, her children ask instead that her friends and relatives do a good deed for a senior citizen this month with her in mind -- call an elderly neighbor and chat, pay the tab for the elderly person sipping coffee alone at the diner, drop off a small gift at a local care center so someone with no family has a gift under the tree at Christmas, or maybe take a plate of cookies to an elderly relative you haven’t seen in ages.