Memory that Will Last For a Lifetime
By Kayla Mack
Alumna of Lincoln and active community member, Debra Stephens, passed away Monday, May 16, 2011. She was born in San Francisco and relocated to San Diego at the age of seven.
Attending Lincoln during a difficult time Stephens managed to come through on top. Lincoln was at a time of walkouts; students were demanding change, and the aftermath of the Civil Rights war. Stephens was very involved in student activities, becoming Commissioner of Women’s activities, Sports Editor for the high school newspaper The Buzz. Also, she was honored to be voted as Ms. Lincoln, a huge honor back in the day. She received her diploma with the graduating class of 1973.
Lincoln High also brought Stephens to meet her husband of 34 years, Duane Stephens, in the hallways of the old Lincoln. He was introduced to Debra in 1972 through a mutual friend, Betty Hollyway. "I will miss her laughter and her warmth," said Mr. Stephens.
Finishing high school, Stephens worked at Pacific Bell, which is now AT&T. Stephens also worked for the office of former San Diego Mayor Maureen O'Connor, San Diego Convention Center, and for The Children's Initiative. She also took hold of a new career to become a real estate agent, selling first class homes around the Lincoln High community.
Stephens was a board member of the San Diego County Urban League, a member of the San Diego Association of Black Journalists, the NAACP San Diego chapter, and the Catfish Club.
Stephens decided she would not just help the community around Lincoln High but she would spend multiple hours helping the high school with whatever she could.
“It truly shaped me as a human being and became the foundation of my life serving others through community involvement,” stated Stephens in a documentary about her life at Lincoln, which can be found on this website at the Echoes Tab on the right column on the home page.
Stephens’s community involvement included helping Voicesoflincoln.com Journalism class, and student sports at Lincoln. This year, Stephens was awarded a community award by the boy’s varsity basketball team for her support and dedication to the school.
“Her great assets and efforts were immeasurable, everything she did was out of the kindness of her heart, she would do anything and everything for no cost at all, her greatness will be missed,” said Coach Jason Bryant, teacher and boy’s varsity basketball coach.
Dedicating countless hours of time and energy into Lincoln High students and community, her continuous support and help will never be forgotten.
As Editor-In-Chief of Voicesoflincoln.com, I personally had a chance to interact with Mrs. Stephens on a daily basis. I can truly say that not only will I, but the whole Journalism class and Lincoln community will miss everything she has done for us. We will not dwell on the passing of this wonderful woman but we will celebrate the life and wonderful things she has done for everyone. Mrs. Stephens will hold a special memory in everyone’s heart.
Her funeral is set for Friday, May 27 at 11 a.m. at the New Creation Church in City Heights. A memorial service for Debra Stephens Celebration of Life will be held tonight from 6pm – 9pm in our theatre.
“I admired Debra capacity to love so many, so well. She lived a 48-hour day. A significant memory was during the October 2007 wildfires. I was out of town, my house was in a possible fire area, and Debra went to get my mother out of my house and moved her into her home for 3 days,” said Cheryl Alethia Phelps, one of Stephens many best friends.