Alita Tomlinson Stephenson

WINNSBORO – On Thanksgiving Day, with a grateful heart and surrounded by her family, Alita Tomlinson Stephenson, loving wife, mother, grandmother and friend, was called home to be with her heavenly Father. She died following a long illness that she faced with great courage, wisdom and faith.

A celebration of her life was held at Sion Presbyterian Church in Winnsboro, S.C. on Monday, Dec. 1 at 11 a.m. with burial following in the Church cemetery. Visitation was on Sunday evening, Nov. 30, at Pope Funeral Home from 4 until 6 p.m. The family will also greet friends at the church following the burial.

Born in Jacksonville, Fla. on July 25, 1936, she was the daughter of the late Laurie Wells and Isabel Hinson Tomlinson. She graduated from Robert E. Lee High School in 1954 and Florida State University in 1958. She was a member of Gamma Phi Beta Sorority and always a huge fan of her Seminoles. While teaching elementary school in Florida, she met her future husband, Joe Stephenson, on a blind date. Love at first sight, they were married in June, 1960 and enjoyed 54 years of a truly wonderful life together. Their family grew with the birth of two children, and they eventually moved to Winnsboro, S.C. Alita especially enjoyed teaching kindergarten before she became a long time employee of Southern Bank & Trust and later the Bank of Ridgeway. Sharing her sweet smile with others, she developed countless close friendships as she helped her customers in so many ways. Upon retiring from the bank, she was a volunteer for several years at Fairfield Memorial Hospital. She also volunteered with the American Heart Association and the American Cancer Society. A long term diabetic and breast cancer survivor, she never hesitated to offer hope, encouragement and to share her belief in God’s unfailing love and mercies with those who had recently been diagnosed themselves.

In earlier years, she had enjoyed being a member of a bridge club, the Anemone Garden Club, the Cultus Club, the Winnsboro Cotillion and the Winnsboro Women’s Club. A member of Sion Presbyterian Church, her faith was of primary importance in her life and she served her church in many ways, not only as a member of the Women of the Church, but also by helping with the nursery, Sunday School and various Church offices.

Alita will always be remembered by those who knew her as one of God’s most faithful servants. She rejoiced in the many blessings she had received during her life, and she strove diligently to witness to others every day her strong faith and love for her Savior.

She is survived by the love of her life, Joe; her daughter, Laurie Stephenson James (Jack); her son, Joe Stephenson Jr. (Nancy); and her grandchildren whom she loved and adored; Evans James, Stephanie James, Joseph Stephenson and Connor Stephenson; a brother, Laurie Tomlinson Jr. (Kathy); brothers-in-law and sisters-in-law, Jim and Ivor Stephenson, and Bob and Locketta Stephenson along with a niece and several nephews.

The family will always be grateful for the loving care she received from the staff at the Cascades and Lutheran Hospice in Greenville, S.C. She was especially grateful to Martha Robinson, Teresa Jones and Kathy Rosado who cared for her and showered her with their love, devotion and friendship. The family would also like to thank the Rev. Grover Putnam for his devoted ministry to Alita and the many smiles and laughter he shared with her and Joe.

In lieu of flowers, memorials may be sent to Sion Presbyterian Church, 116 W. Washington St., Winnsboro, S.C. 29180 or to the Fairfield Memorial Hospital, 102 US 321 Bypass, Winnsboro, S.C. 29180.

Heritage Funeral Home of Simpsonville ( and Pope Funeral Home of Winnsboro ( are assisting the family.

Contact us: (803) 767-5711 | P.O. Box 675, Blythewood, SC 29016 | [email protected]