Cover photo for James Stephens's Obituary
James Stephens Profile Photo
1935 James 2021

James Stephens

January 4, 1935 — December 25, 2021

Jim was born to serve the Lord on January 4, 1935, and reared in Corpus Christi, Texas, the fifth son (no girls) of Joe and Mary Stephens. At this time there are no surviving brothers or cousins, but there are nieces and nephews. Jim married JoElla Thornton in 1953. To this marriage two girls, Stephanie, and Roxana (Larry Candy) were born and now survive. In 1966 Jim married Vonda Lee O'Neal. James jr. was born to this marriage. Vonda died in an automobile wreck in 1985 as they were moving from Beaumont, Texas to Lubbock where Jim began 15 years of service as the Associate Director of Missions for Lubbock Baptist Association. In 1989 Jim and Frances Vandivere Rains were married. They lived in the O'Donnell community where Frances has been the owner of Moore-Rains Insurance agency for 30+years and continues to be a very involved member of First Baptist Church. Frances has a son, Ronald Berwyn Rains. He, his wife, Dana, daughter and son-in-law, Jordan and Jake McGorman live in the Dallas-Fort Worth metroplex.

Jim worked his way through the University of Texas earning a Bachelor of Business Administration degree, then earned his way through Southwestern Baptist Theological Seminary and received his Master of Religious Education degree while serving First Baptist Church, Granbury and holding other part-time jobs and carrying a full load of classes at the seminary. He was ordained to the Gospel Ministry in 1969. Jim trusted Jesus as his savior at age 8. At age 16 God called him into the ministry. At age 28 God again called Jim into the ministry. He resigned an appointment to a Navy Officer Candidate class and made plans to attend the seminary after finishing his BBA. His history of service in churches include: Trinity Baptist Church and Southside Baptist Church; Corpus Christi three years as part-time music and youth while working full-time jobs; First Baptist, Granbury as part-time music and youth, while working either as a bank teller or other commercial jobs full or part-time while attending seminary full-time; College Baptist, Big Spring as minister of music and education; Second Baptist, Odessa as minister of music and education; Kiestwood Baptist, Dallas as Minister of music and education; First Baptist, Woodway, Waco, associate pastor for education and administration; Calvary Baptist, Beaumont, minister of education and administration; Lubbock Baptist Association staff, interim and supply for many local and area churches and Jackson Avenue Baptist, Lovington, New Mexico, as intentional interim pastor during retirement. After officially retiring from The Lubbock Baptist Association, Jim became licensed for "Property and Casualty" Insurance sales and service and actually sold crop insurance for Moore-Rains Insurance. He continued church work part-time: leading worship music, preaching, and leading Sunday School and church growth conferences as an ad hoc consultant for the Baptist General Convention of Texas and the SBC Home Mission board.

Jim often said he didn't just marry Frances but also the Vandivere Family Reunion, the "Class of '54", Rotary Club, O'Donnell Cotton Festival, O'Donnell Senior Citizens, First Baptist Church along with anything else in which Frances became involved. As most retired ministers find, you really don't ever completely retire from serving othersв?¦teaching Sunday School, weddings, funerals, etc. After all, he was born to serve the Lord.

A visitation will be held at the Combest Family Funeral Home in O'Donnell on Wednesday, December 29, 2021, from 3-6pm with family receiving friends 4-6pm. Celebration of Life Service will be held on Thursday, December 30, 2021, at 10am at First Baptist Church, O'Donnell with interment to follow at O'Donnell Cemetery. Interment of Jim's earthly body is in the O'Donnell, Texas, cemetery but the real Jim went home with Jesus.

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