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Annie Lou Stanford was born on March 29, 1944, in Doster, Alabama to Arthur Lee and Rosie Kelly-Stanford. She departed her earthly home for her final journey to be with EL ELYOM on Friday, August 20th: at 11:09 PM. She leaves to cherish her memory a blessed and grateful family and many cherished friends which have and will continue to benefit from the values and ethics which she instilled in us. Mother joined St. Louis Baptist Church as a child: where her family has attended and served for more than one-hundred twenty years. She was a loving wife, mother and grandmother who displayed a love like no other for her family. She was a devoted mother and leaves three sons, John Fitzgerald Stephens of Tampa, Florida, Preston L. (Cherisse) Stephens of Riverdale, GA and Michael A. Stephens of Tampa, Florida to cherish her memory as well as four grandchildren Preston Arthur, Brandon Terryle, Simone Amelia, and Michael Anthony Stephens II.
My brothers and I were blessed to frequently travel to many locations with our parents and visit their siblings and gather with our extended family. Mother was well-endeared throughout her large family which consisted of seven sisters; Arther Mae Pruitt, Panama City FL (Deceased); Annie Marie, Deceased; Rosie Marie Govan, Chicago, IL (Deceased); Mattie Mae Bryant, Buffalo NY, (Deceased); Annie Dean Brinson, McDonough, GA and Gloria Stanford, Doster, AL. In addition, she also had eight brothers: John Henry Stanford, Cleveland, OH (Deceased), O.W. Stanford, Cleveland, OH (Deceased), Jay Lee Stanford, Doster, AL (Deceased), OJ Stanford, FL (Deceased), James E. Stanford Buffalo, NY (Deceased), Napoleon Stanford, Chicago, IL (Deceased); Levi Stanford, Doster, AL (Deceased) and Ernest Stanford, Chicago, IL. As a child Mother was often noted by her parents to be the most rambunctious, toughest and loyal among her siblings and would always be full of energy, joy and laughter even during times of illness and hardships.
Our Mother was both the best and coolest Mom in the neighborhood. She would ensure that her sons had the sportiest bikes biggest tents and the latest Daisy BB guns. She allowed us to explore the forest and have campouts with our friends. While Dad was working, she would take us to the annual Malvern Carnival and to the park to run, swing, slide and play almost every day of summer break. Mom insisted we attend Sunday School as well as our Cub Scout and Webelos meetings: that was a blast to us because it meant that we were able to be in the upcoming parades with both our pack and den mates.
Mom frequently took us to the park and would allow us to stay and play for hours on end as she chatted with other moms at the local Dairy Queen where she would enjoy her favorite banana split treat. We ate ice cream cones and sandwiches: during times of challenge, Mom would ensure we didn’t lose focus on our goals and that we completed our homework and turned it in on time. Our Mom was both the cutest, coolest and toughest Mom on Reed Street. She was always there for us even during times of uncertainty and always knew how to guide us to safety. More than often Mother sacrificed her time, peace and space for us when we were uncertain or afraid of the outcomes. She taught us to endure challenges and work to seek the best results. She was a great cook and would often allow us to help her in the kitchen. Mother would tell us great stories of growing up on her parent’s farm with her brothers and sisters who were as equally close and protective of each other. We, her sons were blessed to have Mother in our lives, more blessed at times than we’ve probably realized through the years. She was always concerned more about others than she was herself. She always had the innate ability to know that she was going to be alright.
Our dear Mother has entered God’s Presence with a new body and no more worries of either pain or loneliness. She would often tell us “If you don’t see me cry then don’t you cry”. It has often been said that our mother had a smile that would “light up the room” she never met a stranger, and she loved her family and her friends. We now look to the sky both day and night to sense that smile as the source of our continued strength. Mother, we will endeavor to keep your promise “not to cry”. Mother, you were our biggest fan. You took care of your three sons. Rest Our Angel and continue to watch over us. We your children and grandchildren will Always Love You and honor your memory!!! Now take your well-deserved eternal rest.
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