Florence Stephan passed away on January 30th, 2017 at the age of 90 in Magrath, Alberta. She was born in Hamilton, Ontario on February 23, 1926. As a young girl she became involved in the performing arts, and was a Gold Medalist in voice at the Canadian National Exhibition, and the Stratford Festival.
Florence met her husband Rudy in Hamilton and they were married in 1946. In 1948, they moved to Kimberley, B.C. where the family grew from two to seven. In 1956 the family moved to Calgary; and in 1968 the family which had grown to nine, moved to the Red Deer area. Florence was employed by the Red Deer College for 23 years.
Florence had a life-long passion for all things theatrical. While in Calgary she was involved in numerous Theatre Calgary productions. Later she became a lifetime member of Central Alberta Theatre (CAT) where she acted, directed, produced, and held positions on the Board. Florence received CAT’s award for Outstanding Member; an outstanding Actress Award in the Adult Provincial Festival; and in 1996 she received the Mayor’s Recognition Award for Citizenship and Continuous Voluntary Service.
After her retirement, and the passing of her husband Rudy in 1995, Florence traveled to Nevada during the winter months and volunteered fulltime at the St. Jude’s ranch for homeless children. In 2002, at the age of 76, she served a fulltime 18 month mission for The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints at the London, England Temple.
After returning from England, Florence found love again and married her long time senior dancing partner, Neil Coates of Red Deer. The couple subsequently resided in Red Deer, Bashaw, and finally in Magrath until Neil’s passing in 2014.
Florence always considered herself as having a truly blessed life, always striving to follow the teaching of her saviour to “love the Lord thy God with all thy heart… and love thy neighbour as thyself”. Florence was predeceased by her parents and only brother Albert Smith, her husbands Rudolf Stephan and Neil Coates, her daughter-in-law Deborah Stephan, and great grandsons Mark Quinton and Ezekiel Stephan.
Florence is survived by her seven children – Ted (Margery) Red Deer, Tony (Barbara) Magrath, Phillip (Joy) Red Deer, Suzanne (Bruce Leavitt) Red Deer, Noelle (Elward Jellison) Magrath, Naomi (John Beke) Edmonton, and Nicolette (David Garside) of Edmonton. She is also survived by two nephews Albert and Donald Smith from Ontario, and a niece Elizabeth (Stephan) Knight of the Bahamas. Gramma Florence will also be missed by her 32 grandchildren, 82 great-grandchildren, and 12 great-great-grandchildren.
A memorial service will be held at The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints at 12:00 noon Saturday, February 11th. 3002 – 47th Avenue, Red Deer, Alberta.