Johnny Lee Stephens, 81, “Minister of Hugs,” passed away peacefully in his home on Sept. 3, 2020 surrounded by his family.

He was the beloved husband to Lois Stephens and the late Marsha Stephens; brother to the late Jim (Joy) Stephens and Jerry (Shirley) Stephens; father to Lori (Joe) Mamer, John (Betsy) Stephens and Tim (Carol) Stephens; “Papa” to Jessie (Gracie) Valtierra, Amanda Stephens, Brandon Stephens and Cameron Stephens. He was born Nov. 14, 1938 in Lawton, Oklahoma to Paul Spurgeon Stephens and Dovey Noma Kirkpatrick.

Johnny retired from Raytheon after 40 years. He was proud that he was able to work on the Apollo Lunar Module and the first Tomahawk missile. Johnny’s faith in his Lord and Savior Jesus Christ played an important role in his life. He was active in numerous churches throughout Southern California and Southern Arizona and earned the title of “Minister of Hugs” as he could always be found before and after services welcoming and hugging everyone. His church family at Evangelical Free Church in Green Valley, Arizona was the latest to experience his genuine love for people. Johnny never met a "stranger"; he would hug and talk to anyone.

Johnny loved spending time with his grandchildren, traveling, eating good food (especially Dairy Queen). He was fond of all kinds of music, photography and being a jack-of-all trades handyman.

Johnny will be deeply missed by his family and numerous friends. We take comfort in the fact that he is at peace with his Heavenly Father and looking down on us all.

A memorial service for Johnny will be held Saturday, Oct. 10, at 10 a.m. at Evangelical Free Church, and will be mainstreamed at EFCGreenValley.or