Obituary: John O’Rion Stevenson


JACKSONVILLE – John O’Rion Stevenson (Johnny) was born May 11, 1948, in Columbia, SC, but moved to Jacksonville, NC, in 1952 where he grew up.  He was a 1966 graduate of Jacksonville High School and attended the University of North Carolina at Wilmington.  Johnny spent his early years working in the family businesses at Lejeune Motors, Lejeune Honda Cars, and Lejeune Motorcycles.  In 1983 he established Stevenson Honda in Lumberton, NC, the beginning of the Stevenson Automotive Group.  Today it incorporates many dealerships in southeastern NC.  The Stevenson Automotive Group is consistently in the Top 125 dealer groups in the country.

Johnny was predeceased by his parents, Leonard O’Rion Stevenson and Laura Grant Stevenson.  He is survived by his wife of 45 years, Susan Booth Stevenson of the home, two daughters, Shelley Stevenson Smith (Todd) of Swansboro, NC, and Booth Stevenson Parker (Wood IV) of Morehead City, NC, grandson Ernest Linwood Parker V of Morehead City, NC, brother Jerry Scott Stevenson (Christine) of Jacksonville, NC, nieces Dee Booth Bray (Matt) of Fuquay-Varina, NC, Alexis Stevenson Worthington (Brendan) of Jacksonville, NC, nephews Larry Kent Neal, Jr. (Traci) of Spencer, NC, Kelly Booth Neal (Jennifer) of Jacksonville, NC and Barringer Grant Warlick Stevenson of Jacksonville, and his beloved dogs Sunshine, Bevan, Winnie, Sadie, Luke, and Evey.

His passion for cars and love of speed and racing competition led to the creation of Stevenson Motorsports, competing in the IMSA Weathertech Series (formerly the Rolex Grand Am Series) and the Continental Sportscar Series.  What began as a hobby, with him as a driver in the races, developed into a well-respected and winning race team led by top professional sports car drivers.

Because of his love for Onslow County and Eastern NC, Johnny chose to stay in this community and rear his family.  His generosity has supported many charities and organizations over the years, usually anonymously.  He was a great champion of Hope for the Warriors, and it was his initial donation that helped ignite the program. Because of his love and compassion for all animals, he financially helped local and state animal rescues and groups on a regular basis.  Johnny’s leadership in this community over the years helped Jacksonville and the surrounding area grow in a positive way.

Johnny was a member of St. Peter’s By the Sea Episcopal Church, Swansboro, and a former member of St. Anne’s Episcopal Church, Jacksonville.  He served on the Board of Directors for the Jacksonville Rotary Club (Paul Harris Fellow), First Citizen’s Bank (Jacksonville), Onslow County Caring Community Foundation, Jacksonville Chamber of Commerce, and the Jacksonville/Onslow Economic Development Commission.  He was a member of the Military Affairs Committee, Jacksonville Country Club, and Crow Hill Hunting Club.  Automotive involvement included Owner/President of the Stevenson Automotive Group, two terms on the Honda National Dealer Council, Founder/Past President of the Honda Dealers of the Carolinas Advertising Association, member of the Board of Directors for the NC Dealers Choice Insurance Co., Owner of Stevenson Motorsports, 2013 recipient of the Bob Snodgrass Award of Excellence presented by the Grand-Am Rolex Sports Car Series, 2014 recipient of the Swansboro Area Chamber of Commerce Business of the Year Award, 2016 Torch Award for Business Ethics presented by the Eastern North Carolina Better Business Bureau, and 2016 Jacksonville Onslow Chamber of Commerce Civic Honoree Award.

Johnny died October 16, 2017.  His passing leaves a void in the fabric of our community and a hole in our hearts.

Visitation will be at Jones Funeral Home in Jacksonville on Thursday, October 19, 5-8 pm.  The service will be at Trinity United Methodist Church in Jacksonville on Friday, October 20 at 1:00 pm.  In lieu of flowers and because of his love for this community, memorials to one of the following local organizations would be appreciated:  Onslow County Animal Services, 244 Georgetown Road, Jacksonville, NC 28540; Onslow County Caring Community Foundation Chairman’s Challenge, 3684-C Henderson Drive, Jacksonville, 28546; or St. Peter’s By the Sea Episcopal Church, 503 W. Broad Street, Swansboro, NC 28584.

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