Sept. 28, 1967 – Nov. 9, 2016
Born in Buffalo, he grew up in Williamsville and attended Forest Elementary School, Mill Middle School, the BOCES Harkness Center and Williamsville South High School. He earned a bachelor’s degree in recreation from Green Mountain College in Poultney, Vt.
Mr. Stephens began his career with Gateway-Longview, where he was a recreation instructor, foster care specialist, case manager and therapeutic activities coordinator.
After earning his master’s degree in special education from Canisius College, he became a high school special education teacher for Erie 1 BOCES in 2000. He went on to be a special education teacher at Mill Middle School and coached lacrosse for Williamsville schools and the Amherst Lacrosse Association. He received the John “Wes” Patterson Sportsmanship Award in 2003 from the Niagara Frontier Lacrosse Officials Association.
He went on to work for Say Yes Buffalo before becoming a teacher in the Buffalo schools. At the time of his death, he was a special education teacher at Emerson Vocational High School.
He was a member of Bison Consistory 29, Ancient & Accepted Scottish Rite of Freemasonry, Prince Hall Affiliation; and Paramount Lodge 73, Free & Accepted Masons, Prince Hall Affiliation.
An avid skier, he was the first African American member of the Kissing Bridge Ski Team. He also enjoyed hunting and motorcycling.
Survivors include three daughters, Nina E., Jillian G. and Natalie G.; his parents, Edward and Lillie; a sister, Pamela A. Stephens-Jackson; and his fiancee, Kristin Rivera.
Services will be held at 10 a.m. Saturday in Calvary Episcopal Church, 20 Milton St. at South Cayuga Road, Williamsville.