Elmer T. “Jimmy” Stephenson, Jr. (the “Gospel Preaching Sign Painter”) of Kingstree, SC, went home to be with the Lord on Wednesday, June 27, 2012. Son of the late Elmer T. Stephenson and Nell Pearl Scott Stephenson, he was born in Chicago, Illinois on July 3, 1930, and raised at the Scott Home place at 501 East Main St., Kingstree. Jimmy’s young career spanned several jobs including custodian for The County Record newspaper, soda jerk, and grocery boy. While employed at the grocery store, he became fascinated with the world of commercial art, and began his career as a sign man on his bicycle with just a lettering brush, a yard stick, and a can of paint. His comment regarding his career choice was that he walked out of his house every day into his hobby, and never spent a day of drudgery at a job he didn’t enjoy. In his 60+ years as an active sign man, he lettered everything from NASCAR race cars for two Daytona 500’s, to billboards along the I-95 corridor for Kentucky Fried Chicken. His passion, however, was introducing everyone he met to the love of God as demonstrated through His Son, Jesus Christ, who took the punishment our sin deserved by his death, burial and resurrection, so that we can have forgiveness of sin and peace with God. In declaring this message, he gifted everyone he greeted with a little red Bible tract, averaging a distribution of 12,000/yr., personally oversaw the manufacture and installation of 3000+ double-faced, “Jesus Saves” yard signs in 22 counties, and larger signs on barns and pack houses in 5 counties. He held Bible studies in his home for adults, Tuesday nights for youth, radio broadcasts, correspondence courses, and maintained an audio Bible reference library. To further the message of salvation through Jesus Christ to areas beyond his region and state, he supported over 13 similar ministries like Radio Bible Class and Awana Clubs. He was a church planter and teaching Elder at Believer’s Bible.
Jimmy was a former Boy Scout Troop Leader was honorably discharged from the SC National Guard as a Sergeant in the Artillery Division.
Preceding him in death was his wife of 47 years, Frances Seymour Stephenson.
He is survived by his wife, Margaret H. Stephenson, his son Craig A. Stephenson (Robyn D. Stephenson) of Kingstree, daughter, Jean Nell Stephenson Branton (R. David Branton), and grandson David Scott Stephenson Branton, of Summerville.
His body was interred at Andrews Memorial Gardens. A Memorial Service and visitation will be held at Williamsburg Funeral Home in Kingstree on Monday, July 2 at 7:00 p.m.
Because Jimmy’s passion was the gospel, his request is in lieu of flowers, memorials be sent to:
· AWANA International, One Bode Road, Streamwood, IL 60107-6658. Donations will be matched. For every $1 given, Awana receives $2.
· Radio Bible Class Ministries, P.O. Box 2222, Grand Rapids, MI 49501
· The church of your choice.
Memorial acknowledgements should be sent to Estate of Jimmy Stephenson, 2673 Thurgood Marshall Hwy., Kingstree, S.C. 29556.