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Dr Harold Patty Stephenson
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Birth: Dec. 22, 1925
Harnett County
North Carolina, USA
Death: Nov. 3, 2012
Stanly County
North Carolina, USA

Obituary for Dr Harold P. Stephenson

Harold Patty Stephenson, of Misenheimer, died Saturday, November 3, 2012, at Bethany Woods Nursing and Rehab Center in Albemarle. He had been in declining health for several years. He was born on December 22, 1925, in Angier, North Carolina, to the late Irving Joseph and Elbertine Patty Stephenson. He attended Reidsville high school and entered Duke University in the fall of 1943. He graduated in 1947 with a BS in mechanical engineering and then received his MA in physics in 1949 and his PhD in physics in 1952. His thesis advisor was the distinguished German scientist Herta Sponer, a leading figure in the field of physics in the mid-20th century.

Stephenson was a lifelong teacher and mentor to all. He was professor of physics at Illinois Wesleyan University from 1952 to 1957, where he met and married his wife, Sarah Kincaid Stephenson, a nursing student at Brokaw Hospital, in 1956. He was professor of mechanics in the department of Mechanical Engineering at Duke University from 1957 until 1960. But Stephenson's love for teaching physics called him to accept the offer from Pfeiffer College to create and build a physics department, and in 1960 he began a career at Pfeiffer lasting until his retirement in 1990.

His love of teaching and inspiration to his students have touched untold numbers, many of his students have gone on to careers in science and medicine at major universities and NASA. Dan Overcash, a former student from Pfeiffer, wrote at his passing:

"Just from his inspiration to me, I have taught students for 47 years and just here at USC have had more than fifty thousand students in classes. His physics has spread to a million students and to satellites in orbit and will go on the first manned Mars mission to refrigerate the fuel for returning, to particle accelerators at Oak Ridge Laboratories through Tony Gabriel. As long as your dad breathes he will sing songs of praise and draw vectors whose components add to the net force."

He was very active in the Methodist Church attending Wesley Chapel UMC in Misenheimer where he was lay leader and a dedicated member of the choir for forty-eight years. He also was dedicated to the Lions Club and was active in the Misenheimer Lions' Club. Stephenson was an avid amateur astronomer and taught classes and led viewings of the stars and planets through the area. Beyond his professional interests and duties, he was a student of many subjects including history, philosophy, and religion, but his deep love was for music: classical and opera.

He is survived by his wife, Sarah, of Bethany Woods Nursing and Rehab, his daughter Ellen Stephenson of Bozeman, Montana, and his son and daughter-in-law, Mark and Caroline Stephenson (and much anticipated grandson), of Misenheimer.

December 22, 2012, his birthday, will be dedicated to the world of classical music in his name on WDAV FM Radio. In lieu of flowers, memorials may be sent in his name to, WDAV, Classical Public Radio 89.9, Box 8990, Davidson, NC 28036-8990 
Family links: 
  Irving Joseph Stephenson (1889 - 1964)
  Matilda Elbertine Patty Stephenson (1898 - 1980)
  Sarah Kincaid Stephenson (1934 - 2012)
  Harold Patty Stephenson (1925 - 2012)
  Frances W. Stephenson (1929 - ____)*
*Calculated relationship
Cremated, Ashes given to family or friend.
Created by: Blueroses
Record added: Nov 04, 2012
Find A Grave Memorial# 100132995
Dr Harold Patty Stephenson
Added by: Laura Myers
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