Paul Richard “Dick” Stebbins, 86, of Longview, Texas, went home to meet his heavenly maker with his family by his side on Thursday, June 7, 2018. Dick fought valiantly until the very end to overcome complications from a series of strokes over the past 18 months, never wavering in his strength or faith.
Dick was born on November 15, 1931, in Dayton, Ohio, to Paul and Marjorie Stebbins. His early years were spent on the family’s dairy farm which instilled in him a strong work ethic. As a teenager, he milked cows and raised tomatoes to sell at the local market. He then went on to Ohio State University where he obtained a degree in agriculture with a minor in accounting. He served in the U.S. Air Force and while stationed in Lubbock, TX, met Joilue Hale who was a student at Texas Tech. They married on December 30, 1955, and soon started a family with the birth of son, Kent, followed by Scott and Brad. Dick began his lifelong dream of having his own dairy farm when he moved his young family to Nacogdoches, TX. Within a few years, he decided to pursue another venture raising pigs and producing sausage but realized after awhile that farming was not going to pay the bills. They packed up and moved to Austin, TX, where he went to work in the accounting department of a nursing home corporation. While in this position, he went on to obtain his CPA license, real estate license, and renew his pilot’s license all of which were skills that made him a valuable asset to the company and later afforded him the opportunity to buy majority ownership upon the owner’s retirement. His nursing home endeavors eventually expanded to include facilities all over and Texas and Nevada including Highland Pines in Longview. It was this connection that brought him back to East Texas where he also started Stebbins Aviation which still operates at the Gregg County Airport today. Dick continued to personally fly jets until age 85 and was, at one time, the oldest active jet pilot in the U.S.
In addition to being an astute businessman, Dick was a true gentleman who enjoyed playing golf, snow skiing, tennis, flying airplanes and spending time at his and Sue’s beach house on Bolivar Peninsula. He has been described as a “life-a-holic”, a person who enjoyed every aspect of his life and always found the positive in any situation.
Dick was preceded in death by his parents, sisters Martha and Nancy, and brother, David. He was also preceded by his first wife and the mother of his children, Joilue Hale Stebbins, in 1996 and wife, Linda King Stebbins, in 2012.
Dick is survived by his loving and devoted wife of 6 years, Sue Frey Stebbins, of Longview, Texas, who exemplified the true meaning of what it means to love and care for someone in sickness and in health; sons Kent (Shellie) of Murphy, Scott (Cynthia) and Brad (Betsy) of Longview; stepchildren Whitney (Andy) Breaux, Thomas (Annie) King, Carrie (Mike) Judd, Mandy (Mike) Schwab, Patrick (Johnna) Thomas, Arturo (Norma) Hernandez; granddaughters Courtney, Christina, and Catherine Stebbins, Hope Jordan, Isabella Breaux, Zita and Briana Hernandez, and Carleigh Judd; grandsons P.R and Jordan Stebbins, Grayson King, Joseph Breaux, Clason Dillard, Jett and Jaelun Thomas, Arturo & Eli Hernandez, and Cade Judd.
The family will receive friends for a personalized visitation on Tuesday, June 12, 2018, from 6 o'clock in the evening until 8 o'clock in the evening in the Garden Court of Welch Funeral Home. A Life Celebration funeral service will be held on Wednesday, June 13, 2018, at 10 o'clock in the morning in the sanctuary of the First United Methodist Church of Longview where the Rev. Jay Jackson will officiate. Interment will follow at Rosewood Park Cemetery.
The family would like to extend a special thank you to the staff at Highland Pines Nursing and Rehab Center, Julia Alexander (speech therapist), Robbie Martin (physical therapist), Highland Park Home Health, Dr. Anil Singhal for your care and friendship. They would also like to thank close family friends, Joel Tutt and Marie Smith, for their unwavering support. Most importantly they would like to thank Audrey Cox, Dick’s personal caregiver, and Yolanda Van Sanford, long time employee and “adopted” family member because we could not have made it through this journey without you.
In lieu of customary remembrances the family request with gratitude that memorials be made to Lifereach International/Water Well Ministry, P.O. Box 982000, Fort Worth, TX, 76182-9