Jeanette Mae (Caddell) Stevens, (affectionately called Ma, Grandma, Granna, Nana, Gee, MamaGee, Mother Stevens), age 93, peacefully transitioned from this life on Sunday, January 28, 2018, after an extended illness. Born in Carthage, North Carolina, to George and Nettie (Goins) Caddell, she was the youngest of 11 children. After the death of her mother, she was brought to Waynesburg, Ohio, and reared by her oldest sibling, Nezzie Matthews, who her children would later call BigMa. Jeanette is a graduate of Waynesburg High School.
In 1942, Jeanette married Fred (Jack) Stevens, who, along with his family, also migrated to Waynesburg, Ohio, from Clio, Alabama. For the 21st century woman who is in a constant struggle to decide if she should have children or concentrate on a career, consider this: in the early 1940’s until 1969, Jeanette was a young, married women taking care of her husband, her children, and her home. In 1969, at the age of 45, she began her career as a social worker with the Stark County Community Action Agency, assisting countless clients towards energy recovery through the HEAP Program. She continued to manage her household while exceling in her career and making it all seem effortless. Jeanette did not retire until her youngest child graduated from high school in 1984. Acknowledging the drive that each of their children possessed, Jeanette and Jack always pushed them to excel, placing great emphasis on having a relationship with Jesus Christ as well as the importance of education.
Jeanette made a deeper commitment to Christ, and was baptized in Jesus’ Name and filled with the Holy Ghost in 1971, at Greater Bethel Apostolic Church. There she served as President of the Women’s Auxiliary, Sunday School Teacher, Choir Member, and Kitchen Coordinator. Over the past 45 years, she has led many of her family and friends to Christ, and provided guidance as they accepted and followed the Christian pathway of life. She was an accomplished pianist and singer with the ability to play any song by ear. She would hear a song, and within minutes she would be able to play it on the piano as if she had practiced for weeks. Jeanette had the voice of a humming bird! A few of her favorite songs were, We’ve Come This Far by Faith, His Eye Is on the Sparrow, and I’m Going Through.”Jeanette was a Powerful Prayer Warrior, and a living testament of the scripture, “The effectual fervent prayer of a righteous man availeth much.” The legacy that mom has left us can best be summed up in the words of Ralph Waldo Emerson, “The purpose of life is not only to be happy. It is to be useful, to be honorable, to be compassionate, to have it make some difference that you have lived and lived well.”
Jeanette is preceded in death by her parents, husband, Fred L. Stevens Sr., son, Fred L Stevens Jr., four grandchildren, and 10 siblings. She leaves to celebrate her life and legacy, nine children, Saundra Matthews, Diane (Preston) Robinson, Jacqueline Stevens, Keith (Gilda) Stevens, Leonard (Brenda) Stevens, Todd (Rachelle) Stevens, Robin (Willie) Lemon, Jill (Joe) Wood, Neil (Francine) Stevens; 25 grandchildren, 37 great-grandchildren, 14 great-great grandchildren, as well as a host of nieces, nephews, cousins and friends.