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January 13, 1928 - July 12, 2013 NORMAN Joan Claire Stevens, age 85, of Norman, passed away July 12, 2013. She was born January 13, 1928, in Ft. Wayne, IN, to James and Virginia Bennigan. Joan grew up in East Lansing, MI, and was the daughter of James and Virginia Bennigan. She attended college at Michigan State University, where she received a BS Degree in Elementary Education, and her Master's Degree at Oklahoma University. While attending MSU, she met Bob Stevens, a basketball player, and they were married in Lansing, MI, following graduation. Joan taught 1st grade in Milford, IN. Together, they had two wonderful children, Nancy and Robert Stevens. Joan and Bob moved to Columbia, SC, when Bob became the head basketball coach at the University of South Carolina. Bob was offered a job at Oklahoma University by Bud Wilkinson and the Stevens moved to Norman, OK, in 1962. Joan taught 4th grade from 1962-1967 at St. Joseph Catholic School, in Norman, OK. In addition, she taught at Kennedy Elementary and Irving Middle School in Norman, OK. She then moved to Houston, TX, and taught 4th grade at various elementary schools there. Joan retired from teaching at the age of 75. She enjoyed cooking, and she loved animals and nature. Joan was a very kind and giving person and would do anything for you. All of her students loved her and she loved them. Her first love was spending time with her granddaughter, Christine. They had a very special bond. Joan is survived by her daughter, Nancy (Stevens) Barcellus, of Norman; son, Robert Stevens, of Newport Beach, CA; 1 granddaughter, Christine Barcellus, of Norman ; 3 step-children, Laura Gaylord, Kim Annaway and Keith Gaylord; 5 step-grandchildren; 1 sister, Nancy Calderone; and 1 brother, Patrick Bennigan; and a host of nieces, nephews and other loving family members and friends. She is preceded in death by her parents; former husband, Bob Stevens; husband, Bill Gaylord; 1 brother, James Bennigan. A Funeral Mass of Christian Burial will be held at 11:00 A.M., Saturday, July 20, 2013, at the St. Joseph Catholic Church Parrish Chapel, 421 E. Acres St., in Norman.

Published in The Oklahoman on July 18, 2013
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