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Welcome to the memorial page for


June 30, 1927 ~ November 17, 2017 (age 90)

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Bernice was born June 30, 1927 in Elkton, Tennessee.  At the early age of 5 she moved to Canton with her parents Milton and Leola (Jenkins) Watkins. She attended Canton Public Schools. At age 18 she married James E. Stephens, Sr. Two children were born to this union James E. Stephens, Jr. and Sandra L. Stephens. The marriage ended in 1958. Years later she re-married James A. Clanton.

Bernice was the first African-American hired into Fisher Foods in the meat department. She started in the Harrison store and was later re=located to the Cherry Avenue Store where she retired from in 1969.

At a young age she was baptized at Cherry Avenue Christian Church (now Faith United Christian) under Rev. S.J. Compton. Bernice loved her church and her church family. She sang in the choir growing up and later held position of Deaconess and president of the C.W.F. a position she absolutely loved. The culinary ministry fell under the C.W.F. and her joy of planning dinners and cooking was her passion.

She loved entertaining in her home. When the home was filled with love, laughter and plenty of food she was at her happiest.

Bernice is preceded in death by her parents. Her four sisters Vernell Mitchell, Amanda Barnes, Louise Hudgeons and Birdie Compton. Her beloved son James E. Stephens, Jr. and husband James A. Clanton.

She is survived by daughter Sandra L. Ingram of the home; daughter-in-law, Evone Stephens of Savannah, Ga.; (3) grandchildren that she loved Eldridge B. Ingram of Canton, Oh., Tiffany (Anthony) Garrett of  Savannah, Ga.,  James (Carmen) E. Stephens III of Augusta, Ga.; (1) great-grandson, McKay James Garrett of Savannah, Ga.; sister-in-law, Donovan Quarles; dear friends, Lillie Johnson and Patricia R. Hunter and her affectionally termed “her girls” Lillian Mastin, Karen Quincy, Jonnie Groce, Marilora Redrick, Nancy Tucker and Jenny Terrell as well as a host of other family and friends.

A special thank you to my cousins the Lopes family that she loved them her nieces and nephews for being with us during this last leg of her journey.

A special thank you to Mercy Hospice that showed such much love, compassion and caring in the last months of her life.

 Service Information

Graveside Service
November 22, 2017

11:00 AM
Forest Hill Cemetery

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