John William Stevens, Jr.
John William Stevens, Jr, 94, of Hattiesburg, Mississippi peacefully passed away on Wednesday, August 19, 2020, at Post Acute Medical Center, in Hammond, Louisiana. He was a long time resident of Diamondhead, Mississippi and had been residing at Summerfield Assisted Living of Hammond for the past 4 years.
John was born on May 25, 1926 as the son of Mr. John William Stevens, Sr. and Mrs. Myrtis “Mae” Lee of Hattiesburg, Mississippi. His quick-wit and hearty laugh will be remembered and missed by all who knew him! John truly reflected the spirit of the Greatest Generation. He had a deep love for his family, friends, his country and all things related to athelitic competition. He saw his beloved America thrust into conflict and when duty called, John did not hesitate and enlisted in the United States Navy to serve in the Pacific during World War II. He was naval airman, serving as a gunner / navigator on a Vought OS2U Kingfisher assigned to the USS Trenton during the Aleutian Campaign. John remained a proud American all of his life, and always took the time to politely ensure our US Flag was respected and correctly displayed where he lived and worked.
Upon returning to civilian life after WW2, John’s love of sports was rekindled and he earned a spot as a pitcher on the Newport News Dodgers, a Piedmont League farm club for the Brooklyn Dodgers. John showed promise, even sending the great Joe DiMaggio back to the bench on strikes during an exhibition game. However, his baseball career was cut short by a broken arm. He never returned to the field of dreams on a professional level but he never lost his love of team sports He spent many years coaching baseball and football in youth leagues in Algiers. However, when it came to sports, John’s passion was golf. He loved the game, elevating his craft to a near scratch handicap, and played nearly every weekend for most of his life.
John’s professional life was as varied as the times. He began his business career with Ayers Materials as a bookkeeper in 1950. He quickly worked his way up to Vice President of Sales and in 1962 he became part owner and Vice President in charge of Harvey Industries, Inc. John was also very active in the Westbank Chamber of Commerce. He was a member of the Steering Committee for the Westbank Expressway Improvement Project. He served as Chairman of both the Expressway Task Force and Transportation Committee of the Westbank Council and was the first recipient of the Westbank Chamber of Commerce John W. Stevens, Jr. annual award. In 1975, John left New Orleans bringing his construction background, work ethic and dedication to the Louisiana Asphalt Pavement Association (LAPA) serving as Executive Director. During his tenure at LAPA, he received numerous awards for both himself and the organization, including the Sheldon G. Hayes Award, presented annually by the National Asphalt Pavement Association. He also served as National Chairman of the State Asphalt Pavement Association Executives and was a driving force behind the Highway Trust Fund. After his retirement, he was inducted into the Louisiana Department of Transportation and Development Hall of Fame.
He was preceded in death by his beloved wife of 70 years, Norma Lucille Boulton Stevens. Those left to cherish his memory include his son, John W. “Steve” Stevens, III and wife, Margie, of Mandeville, Louisiana; his brother, Gerald Stevens of Tyler, Texas; two grandchildren, Lisa Callaway and husband Chris, of Honolulu, Hawaii; and John W. “Jay” Stevens, IV, of Raleigh, North Carolina; and one great grandchild, Olivia Callaway of Honolulu, Hawaii.
Visitation services will be held at at the Hulett-Winstead Funeral Home, Hattisburg, Mississippi, on Saturday, September 19th at 11:00am with services to follow in the Chapel at 12:30pm. Burial will follow at Hillcrest Cemetary, Petal, Mississippi.
In lieu of flowers and to support his love of our country, memorials may be made to the Fisher House Foundation at 12300 Twinbrook Pkwy, Suite 410, Rockville, MD, 20852 or to the USO at uso.org.