Kennesaw Mayor J.O. Stephenson, age 84, of Kennesaw, GA, passed away Tuesday, November 1, 2016. Mr. Stephenson was born on October 8, 1932, in Dawson, Alabama, the son of the late Ben Stephenson and Grace Talley Stephenson.
Mr. Stephenson was a dynamic leader in the Kennesaw community. The majority of his political career was spent serving the city of Kennesaw and Cobb County in numerous capacities. He was elected to office in 1978 and served eight years on the Kennesaw City Council. He then served ten years as Mayor of Kennesaw from 1986 until 1995. During these 18 years, Mr. Stephenson oversaw the massive growth that came to Kennesaw. He was a strong proponent of the 1982 Gun Law that supported our second amendment rights. This law, which required every head of household to maintain a firearm together with ammunition, was passed unanimously by the City Council After passage of the law, the burglary rate in Kennesaw declined, and to this day the City has one of the lowest crime rates in Metro Atlanta. Mr Stephenson oversaw the building of the Kennesaw City Hall in 1988 and the building of the Police Department and Jail in 2004. Kennesaw’s first traffic light was installed while he was in office and Legacy Park, Atlanta’s first Townpark Community was developed within the City limits of Kennesaw.
Mr. Stephenson, was the founder and owner of Stephenson’s Exterminators which he started in 1972. He remained actively involved in the business until he sold it in 2013.
Mr. Stephenson was a member of the First Baptist Church of Kennesaw beginning in 1956. Along with serving as a Sunday school teacher and deacon, J.O. was part of the Ken Hudson Sunday School Class where he made sure coffee was ready and hot every Sunday morning. He also served as a Gideon for many years. In his spare time he enjoyed coaching youth sports, hunting, fishing, and gardening. Mr. Stephenson was known for his kind heart and his willingness to serve anyone around him. Though J.O. accomplished many extremely notable achievements throughout his lifetime his greatest accomplishment was being a father, a grandfather and a great-grandfather. Mr. Stephenson was a loving husband and leader to his family and community; he will certainly be missed by all who knew him.
Along with his parents, Mr. Stephenson was preceded in death by his first wife, of 56 years, and mother to his children, Rebecca Hall Stephenson; brothers, C.H. Stephenson and James Stephenson; granddaughter, Mandy Stephenson; and one great-granddaughter, Joanna McDaniel.
Mr. Stephenson is survived by his wife, Patricia Sloman Stephenson; his four children, Suzette (Mike) McDaniel of Kennesaw, Kathy (Tony) Conner of Kennesaw, GA, Connie (Doyle) Hood of Acworth, GA, and Philip (Lisa) Stephenson of Dallas, GA; two brothers, Alvin Stephenson and Tommy Stephenson; three sisters, Flora Mae McDaniel, Jackie Stephenson, and Sybil Lynch; eight grandchildren, Andy (Kara) McDaniel, Russ (Tori) McDaniel, Ricky (Krista) McDaniel, Suzie McDaniel, Jeremy (Cindy) Conner, Brett ( Jennifer) Conner, Jake Stephenson, and Luke (Cara) Stephenson; fourteen great-grandchildren, Emma, Aaron, Ben, Caleb, Isaiah, Elijah, Arianna, Josiah, and Judah McDaniel, Matthew Stewart, Emily, Evelyn, and Hazel Conner, and Liam Stephenson; several nieces and nephews also survive.
Friends are cordially invited to a visitation with the family from 2:00 pm until 4:00 pm and from 6:00 pm until 9:00 pm on Friday, November 4, 2016, in the Welcome Center of the First Baptist Church of Kennesaw.
The funeral service to honor the life of Mr. J.O. Stephenson will be held at 11:00 AM on Saturday, November 5, 2016, in the Welcome Center of the First Baptist Church of Kennesaw with Dr. Perry Fowler and Rev. Tommy Stephenson officiating. Interment will follow at Pine Ridge Memorial Park in Kennesaw, GA.
In lieu of flowers the family request donations be made to the First Baptist Church of Kennesaw Building Fund.
Please visit www.winkenhoferpineridgefuneralhome.com to leave condolences and remembrances for the family of Mr. J.O. Stephenson.
Winkenhofer Pine Ridge Funeral Home, 2950 North Cobb Parkway Kennesaw, GA 30152 has charge of the arrangements.