Bernese "Bernie" Bumpers Carey Stephens


 BERNESE BUMPERS CAREY STEPHENS “Bernie” Bumpers Carey Stephens, 96, passed away Sunday, October 22, 2017, peacefully at her home.  She was born to the late Lorenzo Glen and Floy (Flanagan) Bumpers on September 16, 1921, in Charleston, Arkansas.

In early childhood, Bernese and her family moved to Paris, Arkansas.  Growing up in Paris, Bernese nurtured her natural talent of the piano.  Throughout school she won multiple county competitions as well as taught piano to local young ladies.  After graduating from Paris High School in 1938, Bernese attended University of Central Arkansas, formerly State Teacher’s College in Conway.  September 18, 1943, Bernese married her high school sweet heart, Sigler Scott Carey.  Already active in the military, Sigler and his bride moved to Denver, Colorado.  Upon Sigler’s deployment to India, she returned to Vian, Oklahoma where her family’s theater business had taken them.  After World War II, the couple returned to Caruthersville, where Sigler was a partner with his father in his family’s theater business.  They enjoyed a happy marriage of twenty-three years.  Sigler passed away in December of 1966.  The following summer Bernese and their daughter, Jana, moved to Ft. Smith, Arkansas.  Bernese later married her first Paris beau, Morris Glen Stephens, in March of 1968.  The three called Shreveport, Louisiana home for seventeen years.  Upon Morris’ retirement, “Bernie” and Morris returned to their beloved Arkansas.  For the next twenty-eight years, Hot Springs Village was their little paradise.  Morris passed away in March of 2003.  In August of 2013, Bernese returned to Caruthersville to be near her daughter and her family.

Throughout Bernese’s life, she was active in multiple church activities.  In Caruthersville, she taught children’s vacation Bible school as well as Sunday School.  In Shreveport, “Bernie” participated in multiple Bible studies.  Bernese was an active member of the Village United Methodist Church in Hot Springs Village.  She served on the Administrative Board, Evangelism, and Memorial committees as well as being a member of the United Methodist women.  “Bernie” was also a member of the Searcher’s Sunday School class which she dearly loved and enjoyed.  And of course, “Bernie” and Morris were members of the Hot Springs Village Razorback Club and “Bernie” was a member of the Razorback Belles!  She always loved dancing and socializing with her friends and family.

Mrs. Stephens is survived by her daughter, Jana Carey Merideth (Baughn, Sr); Grandson: Baughn Thomas Merideth, Jr (Randi); Grand-daughter: Caroline Merideth Tipton (Michael) all of Caruthersville, Missouri.  Nieces:  Fran Hutchison, Carol Hutchison and Jane (Rick) Cooper of Garner, North Carolina and nephew, John (Barbara) Hutchinson III of Caruthersville.  Her younger sister, Bequita Bumpers Huggins Gray preceded Bernese in death earlier this fall.  “Bernie” also leaves a host of cousins she dearly loved.

The family wishes to thank her special Hot Springs Village friends who continued to stay in touch through greeting cards and telephone calls as well as her special friends in Caruthersville who continued to visit and provide support with love and devotion.  A note of appreciation to the staff of Always First In-Home Care of Caruthersville and Legacy Hospice of Kennett, Missouri.  In lieu of flowers, the family requests memorials be made to Eastwood Memorial United Methodist Church, the Caruthersville Public Library or the Caruthersville Area Arts Council.

The memorial service will be held at 11:00 a.m. October 26 at the Eastwood Memorial United Methodist Church with Reverend Jerry Mattson officiating.  Reverend George Tanner will officiate over the interment in Paris, Arkansas at 10:00 a.m. on Friday.  H.S. Smith Funeral Home in charge of service.


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