Lois Dean Birdwell Stephenson
April 10, 1933 – July 12, 2018
On July 12, 2018, Lois Dean Birdwell Stephenson passed away. She was born on April 10, 1933, in Bonham Texas, daughter of Olen and Sally Birdwell. Lois completed high school in Bonham graduating first in class. She attended East Texas State University in Commerce Texas graduating cum laude with a degree in English and was certified to teach in the Texas Junior High School System. Lois moved to Abilene Texas and continued teaching English at Abilene Junior High where she met and married Air Force 1st Lieutenant Russell Stephenson June 8, 1962.
Lois and Russell moved to Glasgow Air Force Base (AFB) Montana in the spring of 1963 where Lois played an active role in various base activities. June of 1968, Lois and Russell returned to Dyess AFB in Abilene following Russell’s three deployments to Viet Nam. Upon returning to Abilene, Lois resumed her teaching position at Abilene Junior High School. In January 1971, Lois and Russell were reassigned to Plattsburgh AFB in New York. Lois returned to her teaching roots again teaching English but this time at the Junior College level.
In March 1978, Lois moved with her husband to Fort Meade, Maryland. In 1982 Lois enrolled in the University of Maryland’s master degree program, graduating with a Master of Arts (MA) in English Literature in 1984. After completing her MA Lois was employed by the University to teach freshman English which she did until joining the National Security Agency (NSA) as a technical writer in 1986. In view of her excellent credentials and teaching experience, Lois was recruited to join the National Cryptologic School supporting the school’s engineering department technical writing program. Lois retired from NSA June 1997.
During the period 1997 until her passing July 9, 2018, Lois was an active member of the Fort Meade Retired Officer’s Wives Club (ROWC) serving in various responsible positions including two terms as the ROWC President. The U. S. Army recognized Lois as the Army’s “Volunteer of the Year” for her activities in support of Fort Meade. During this same period, Lois was also a member of the Fort Meade Garden Club, again serving in various responsible positions, including that of club President.
Lois is survived by her husband Colonel Russell Stephenson (USAF Ret), daughter Monica and son-in-law Brandon Ernst, two grandchildren, Garrison Ernst and Mercedes Bridges and two great grandchildren Layla and Bowen Bridges. Her sister, Norma Hamby and several nieces and nephews all reside in Bonham, Texas.
In lieu of flowers memorial contributions may be made “In Memory of Lois” to a charity of your choice.
A Memorial Gathering will be held on Sunday, July 22, 2018, at the Witzke Funeral Home, 5555 Twin Knolls Rd. Columbia, MD from 3 to 5 pm, where a Remembrance service will follow at 5pm. Lois will be buried in Arlington National Cemetery at a later date.
- Visitation Sunday, July 22, 2018
- Remembrances Sunday, July 22, 2018
Lois Dean Birdwell Stephenson
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July 19, 2018
Phyllis and I often think of our fun times together as neighbors at Glasgow AFB, Montana. Lois and Russ’s daughter Monica was a sweet little girl, and their dog Max thought we were part of their family. We cherish those years, and will always remember Lois as the bight and feisty young woman who was such a good friend. And we will remember the laughter, so many laughs to make those long cold winters happy times.