Byrcha Stevenson

Saturday, July 26, 2008
Byrcha Stevenson

Byrcha Allen Stevenson of Jackson died peacefully in her sleep at her home with her family around her, Thursday, July 24, 2008, at the age of 99.

She was born Aug. 19, 1908, to Linder Birch Allen and Myrtle Maud Hartle Allen in Burfordville. The family later moved to Cape Girardeau in 1927. In 1928 she married Clyde Boone of Jackson. He died in an accident a few weeks after their marriage en route to Missouri University, where he was a graduate architectural student.

Byrcha's first love was music. She began accompanying the Burfordville Baptist Church congregation on the piano at age 11. She also played at the Millersville Methodist Church. As a senior at Jackson High School, she left school at noon on Fridays to teach music and piano at Millersville School.

Byrcha graduated from Jackson High School, Southeast Missouri State Teachers College and McKendree College.

Her teaching career included the Jackson public schools, Illmo-Fornfelt, College Training School, Nell Holcomb and in Sparta, Ill. She taught private piano lessons and continued playing into her late 90s.

She met Cecil E. Dean while on an excursion aboard the Golden Eagle. They were married June 3, 1934, and opened the former Electrical Housekeeping in Cape Girardeau. The name was later changed to Dean and Company.

Byrcha later married Willard Stevenson, a former schoolmate from Jackson High School. The couple resided on his farm in Sparta. After his death, she and her mother moved back to Jackson. In 1987 she moved to Kearney, Neb., to live with her daughter and son-in-law, Carol and Tom. In 1997 they all returned to Jackson.

Byrcha was a member of New McKendree United Methodist Church in Jackson and its Naomi Circle. Other memberships include the Clio Society, Delta Kappa Gamma Society, Who's Who in American Colleges and Universities, Garden Club, Quest Club, Women's Club and Kearney China Painters Guild.

Survivors include a son, Pat Dean and partner Joyce Smith of Lake St. Louis, Mo.; a daughter, Carol Dean Draper and son-in-law Tom Draper of Jackson; former daughter-in-law, Linnet Gerhardt Dean of Chesterfield, Mo.; two stepsons, Paul K. (Janet) Stevenson of Roseville, Ill., W.K. "Steve" (Linda) Stevenson and family of St. James, Mo.; a stepdaughter, Lorna (Bill) Chesnutt and family of Columbia, Md.

Also surviving are four grandchildren, Kimberly (Adonis) Valsamis of New York, John Allen Stanfield of Massachusetts, Laura (Dr. E. Stephen) Bolesta of Webster Groves, Mo., Tom Draper Jr. of Wisconsin; two stepgrandchildren, Laurie (Rod) Myers and Michael Stevenson of Illinois; six great-grandchildren, Megan (Ralph) Swanson and Katlyn Valsamis of New York, Waverley Stanfield and John B. Stanfield of Massachusetts, Brigitte Bolesta of Webster Groves, Brandon Jones of Missouri; two great-stepgrandchildren, Jason Myers and Mariah Myers of Illinois; and a great-great-granddaughter, Kaylee Swanson of New York.

She was preceded in death by her parents and her husbands, Clyde Boone, Cecil Dean and Willard Stevenson.

Friends may call from 12:30 p.m. today until time of service at McCombs Funeral Home in Jackson.

The funeral will be at 2 p.m. today at the funeral home, with the Rev. John Rice officiating. Burial will follow in Cape County Memorial Park in Cape Girardeau.

In lieu of flowers, memorials are suggested to Jackson R-2 Public School Foundation or New McKendree United Methodist Church.

Sympathy messages may be sent to the family online at www.mccombsfuneralhome.com.