John P. Stevens: Jan. 28, 2016
John P. Stevens, a native of Americus, Georgia, and longtime fixture in Georgia banking and governmental affairs, died peacefully on Jan. 28, 2016, at the age of 86. He died of natural causes, in the care of his family.
Stevens was a man of letters, and though it is a cliche for some, he was truly a southern gentleman as well as a scholar. For more than six decades and during the administration of every Georgia governor since Herman Talmadge, Stevens was a voice of knowledge and experience on banking law and matters of financial market regulation. Stevens, an avid pilot, was fond of saying that he was born an old man, when friends inquired how he was doing, his most frequent reply was, “Better than I deserve.”
Stevens lost his father, Morgan Jasper Stevens at a young age. His mother, Maggie Sue Phinizy Stevens raised him to be self-sufficient and independent. He was a runner and played football and graduated from Americus High School. He attended college at the Emory campus in Valdosta and later graduated from Emory University. He spent summers during high school and college in New York working in the financial industry.
He began his banking career with the then First National Bank of Atlanta in 1950, retiring as executive vice president of the Government Division of Wachovia Bank in 1994. John continued his second career as a public affairs specialist, along with his love, and second wife, Joyce Carter Stevens. The Stevenses have both been regulars in the lobbying arena under Georgia’s Gold Dome for decades together.
Stevens was a leader in industries other than banking, including the textile industry and aviation industry, and his counsel and political backing were sought by governors, house speakers and members of Congress alike. One of his longest and strongest associations was with Georgia’s longest serving House Speaker, Thomas B. Murphy of Bremen, Georgia.
Stevens served in positions of leadership with the Georgia Chamber of Commerce, Georgia Bankers Association and Georgia Textile Manufacturers as well as a lengthy list of civic and charitable organizations. His great loves included quail hunting on the plantations of South Georgia, flying beginning with soloing at the age of 12, flying crop dusters while in high school and farming. Along with his wife Joyce, he spent many of his later years as a gentleman farmer of cattle and other crops at their spread near Monroe, Georgia. He always looked forward to having time to soar above in his Cessna or get on his favorite John Deere tractor to check the farm.
By most any measure, John Stevens was a mentor to many, loving father, husband and extremely successful banker and public affairs professional. But those who knew him well knew that he was also a man of great humility. His often stated credo was, “Success requires no explanation, failure permits no alibi.”
Stevens is survived by his wife, Joyce Carter Stevens, formerly of Adel, Georgia; his daughter, Alice Stevens DePass Miller of Athens and two grandsons. He was pre-deceased by a son, both his parents, and a sister. The family wishes to extend their deepest thanks and regards to longtime friends who assisted with John’s care during a recent illness and his final days, including: Melanie Dubberley, Annette Maddox, Maggie Partee and Michelle Strickland.
The Stevenses are active members of the First United Methodist Church of Monroe, Georgia. The family invites friends and family to celebrate John’s life at a memorial service at 11 a.m. on Saturday, Feb. 13, 2016, at FUMC of Monroe, Georgia. In lieu of flowers, memorial gifts may be made to John P. Stevens’ favored charities including The Building Fund of First United Methodist Church, 400 S. Broad St., Monroe GA, and John P. Stevens Educational Trust Scholarship, Perimeter College at Georgia State University, 3251 Panthersville Road, Decatur, GA 30034.
H. M. Patterson & Son-Arlington Chapel are in charge of arrangements.