Jessie May Stevens
Birth Date: December 22, 1932Death Date: January 11, 2018
Jessie May Norman Stevens, 85, died on January 11, 2018 at her daughter Lorie’s home in Tulsa, Oklahoma. Lorie and her husband Jim were there at the bedside to comfort Jessie as she left this world to rejoin her husband Raymond and her savior Jesus Christ. Jessie was born on December 22, 1932 in Des Ark, Arkansas to Fannie Mae Sebastian and Ernest Chester Norman who were farmers and sharecroppers. Jessie was the youngest of six children. During the Great Depression, Jessie with her family relocated to the Monterey Bay Area in California. Jessie graduated from Monterey High School and went to work at the Base Exchange on Ft. Ord. At a Valentine’s Day USO dance she met a young Korean War combat veteran who “would dodge under the table with every flash of a camera”. Three months later on May 14, 1952, Raymond and Jessie were married in Seaside, California. Raymond being career U.S. Army, was transferred to Stuttgart, Germany. Jessie followed, crossing the Atlantic Ocean in passenger cruise ship. Jessie was very resourceful as she knew how to sew, cook, crochet, and knit. She loved to sing and dabble in arts and crafts. While at Stuttgart, their oldest daughter was born in 1954. While in Germany, Raymond had become a NATO courier for S.H.A.P.E. Belgium and was transferred to Paris, France. Jessie packed up the family and followed Ray, their love and devotion growing ever stronger. In 1956, their eldest son was born just outside Paris. From there they were transferred to Ft Knox, Kentucky and then on to Ft Ord, California. Their next son was born at Ft Ord in 1963. Raymond was transferred to Fulda, Germany, and once again Jessie packed up the family and we all followed. Ever conscious of our love for one another, and the prospect of always being united as a family. While in Fulda, their baby daughter was born in 1964. During these early turbulent times of the Viet Nam War, Raymond volunteered to go as his sense of duty dictated him to do. Jessie and her “brood” returned to the Monterey Bay Area where other relatives resided to provide emotional support. The memories of letters, reel to reel voice tapes, and barrage of care packages that went out on an almost daily basis must have kept the postal service busy, and we all always delighted and would gather around the tape recorder to hear Daddy’s voice. Raymond never had any fears or worries of the home front, for he knew that Jessie would command the children better than any Drill Sergeant could have. Jessie was strict, nurturing, and loving as well as organized, thrifty, and could account for every penny earned. Jessie often baby sat to bring in additional funds. Raymond always made sure that meat was on the table using grocery money for deer tags, it was always guaranteed there was more meat than could have been purchased. Raymond retired from the military in 1966. Shortly after that, Raymond and Jessie legally adopted a nephew who would become next to the oldest son. Family was very important to Jessie and Raymond, through love, sacrifice, determination, and devotion they held the family together. In 1989, Jessie and Raymond relocated to Gray’s Creek (St Pauls), North Carolina to be near their oldest daughter. In August 2012, due to health issues Raymond and Jessie were relocated to Tulsa area in Oklahoma by their daughters, where it was believed that they would receive better health care. Raymond and Jessie met every challenge head on, stayed true to one another, and were married for over 60 years. Jessie was preceded in death by her loving husband Raymond on October 3, 2012. Jessie is free now from the crippling pain of arthritis and other complications that stole her voice, as she is now able to walk, talk, and laugh once more in Heaven with Ray. Preceded in death by her mother Fannie Mae, sisters Louise Metreyeon, Helen Allen, and brothers Thomas Gipson, Eugene Norman, and Chester Norman. Jessie is survived by her children: Debra Stewart of St. Pauls, NC, Wayne Stevens and his wife Linda of Winnebow, NC, Eugene Stevens and his wife Deborah of San Diego, CA, Scott Stevens and his wife Jenny of Colorado Springs, CO, and Lorie Maxson and her husband Jim of Tulsa, OK. Jessie also leaves behind 17 grandchildren, 22 great-grandchildren, with one great-grandchild on the way. Jessie will be cremated at Floral Haven in Broken Arrow, OK. Internment memorial will be set at a later date.