Howard Henry, the youngest of his two sons, was born in Iowa in 1874 and died in May of 1947 in Topeka. His wife's name was Minnetta Maxwell Stephens, affectionately know as 'Minnie" or, presumably due to her large size, 'Big Ma'. She was born in Illinois in 1878 and died a few months after Howard Henry. They were married in Peoria, Illinois, in May 1899. Photos of the two of them appear elsewhere in this volume.
Howard Henry spent his life working for the Santa Fe railroad. He started his career with the railroad when he was 16 years old. He was employed as a mechanic in Chillicothe, Illinois. Most railroad employees learn that their employer expects them to move around the territory, and Howard Henry and Minnie were no exceptions. Each move usually meant a promotion. By the time the Stephens' moved to Topeka in 1922 (by way of Ft. Madison, Iowa, Chillicothe, Illinois, Arkansas City, Kansas, Amarillo, Texas, Wellington, Kansas, and Clovis, New Mexico) he had climbed as high up on the ladder as was possible--he was the superintendent of the shops in Topeka, a position he held until his retirement in June of 1940. His retirement certificate shows that he worked for the railroad for 50 years and five months.
Howard Henry and Minnetta's children were named Franklin Erwin, Zelma Inogene, Helen Louise, Viola Agnes, Orla Francis, Lois Syble and Howard Hatcher.
From the Topeka Capital – May 31, 1940
HH Stephens, Santa Fe Superintendent, to retire voluntarily tonight.
Completing 50 years of service with the Santa Fe Railway, Howard H. Stephens, superintendent of the Topeka shops since 1922, announced today he would voluntarily retire from active duty at the close of work tonight.
Mr. Stephens started his railroad career as an apprentice in the Santa Fe shops at Ft. Madison, IA in 1890. During his half century of railway service, he has participated in the revolutionary development of steam and diesel locomotives.
Born in DeWitt, IA, July 17, 1873, Mr. Stephens was graduated from the Centerville high school in 1889 and became a Santa Fe shop apprentice the following year. He was promoted to machinist in 1893 and transferred to Chillicothe where he worked in this capacity until 1907 when he became division foreman. In 1911 he was transferred to Arkansas City as general foreman and was promoted to master mechanic at Wellington in 1913. He served as master mechanic at Clovis from 1917 until 1921 when he was promoted to mechanical superintendent at Amarillo.
Since coming to Topeka as head of the shops in 1922, Mr. Stephens has taken an active part in community and civic affairs. He served as president of the Topeka Chamber of Commerce in 1935-1936. Prior to that time he served actively on many Chamber of Commerce and community committees, particularly thru the early depression years when unemployment relief was largely a local problem. Stephens is a member of the board and a former president of the Topeka Tuberculosis association and Hillcrest Sanatorium, and a member of the Topeka charities commission.
As an avid baseball and softball fan, Mr. Stephens has been a strong sports advocate and he is largely responsible for the fine athletic teams that have represented the Santa Few shops both at home and along the far flung Santa Fe lines. He is exceptionally close to the hundreds of employees in the shops and participated in many of their social as well as business activities.