Paula Inez Anne (Annie) Hardin Stephens, age 83, beloved wife, aunt, and friend, left her earthly body on Friday, December 22, to fly with the help of God’s angels, into the arms of Jesus.
Annie was born in Sayre, Oklahoma on June 27, 1940, to John Hillyer Hardin and Ora Mae Locke Hardin. She was raised on the farm in a strong Christian family. Annie was her Daddy’s girl. She loved the land with all her heart. Annie attended a small country school where she was introduced to one of her true passions, basketball. She played all through her school years and excelled at the sport while attending Sayre High School. There “The Clique” was formed with girls on the basketball team. Dorita Bonds, Helen Wright, Norma Jean Fletcher, and Betty Wright became lifelong friends. The movie “Believe In Me” was later made about their team’s journey to win state.
While at Sayre, Annie started dating Ronnie Stephens and on November 9, 1958, Annie and Ronnie were married. This began a sixty-five-year journey that was filled with much love, many adventures, and great memories, such as attending football games, car races, hikes in the mountains of New Mexico and Colorado, and lots of trips back to the farm in Oklahoma.
Annie and Ronnie had no children but claimed a bunch of nieces and nephews as their own. Annie also made a great impact on the many babies and children she loved on while serving in the church nursery for over 30 years. These were their kids.
Annie loved life and everyone she met. She was extremely close to her family and treasured the land on which she was raised. Above all, she loved God, Ronnie, family, and basketball. Annie’s entire life was lived on the Christian values she learned as a child. Her love was sincere and true. Everyone loved Annie. You rarely heard anyone speak Annie’s name without the word “sweet” being mentioned. Annie will be greatly missed.
Annie was preceded in death by her parents, Ora Mae and J.H. Hardin, brothers Cliff Hardin and Bob Hardin, and sister Margret Mayor. She is survived by her husband Ronnie Stephens of Amarillo, sister Dorothy Locke and husband Bill of Lubbock, and a host of nieces and nephews.
The family wishes to thank the staff of The Sycamore Assisted Living and Memory Care Facility who lovingly cared for Annie for the last seven months of her earthly life.
A celebration of life ceremony will be held at the First Baptist Church in Andrews, Texas on Saturday, January 27th at 10:00 a.m. with Pastor Brant O’Connor officiating. Arrangements are by Boxwell Brothers Funeral Directors, 2800 Paramount Blvd, Amarillo, Texas.