The family and many friends of Janie Pate Stephenson mourn her loss on March 11 following a sudden illness. A resident of Daphne, Alabama since 1985, Janie was a native of Dothan, Alabama, born Aug. 3, 1941.
A lifelong social worker who specialized in public welfare casework, marriage and family counseling, grief counseling, drug addiction therapy and women's health issues, Janie was a much-1loved and highly respected consultant and therapist in private practice in Daphne, having served that community since 1998.
After graduating from Dothan High School in 1959, Janie earned a bachelor's degree in social work from the University of Montevello in 1963 with a minor in psychology. Two years later she received a master's degree in religious education from New Orleans Baptist Theological Seminary. Her final degree was a master's in social work earned in 1977 at the University of Alabama, Tuscaloosa.
She began her professional career in 1965 as a caseworker with the Jefferson County Department of Pension and Security in Birmingham. She subsequently served in a similar capacity in Tuscaloosa before becoming a counselor for the Volunteers of America Adoption Service in New Orleans in 1970. She retired in 1994 as a training coordinator with the Alabama Department of Human Resources where she designed and ran a statewide training program.
After retirement from the state, her passion for education and training in her field led her to a teaching position at the Fairhope campus of Faulkner State Community College where she served as adjunct professor of sociology from 1986 to 2001. She launched a private therapy consultancy in Fairhope in 2000 and continued her work there until her death.
Over the years, Janie's reputation among her many clients reflected a profound regard for her consummate professionalism and genuine concern for their individual welfare. Her warm smile, her inviting and comforting demeanor and an irrepressible sense of humor were trademarks that served her exceedingly well both professionally and socially throughout her singular life.
Janie's legacy among her family and her multitude of close friends will forever remain a truly remarkable portrait of love, caring, compassion and grace. Her effervescent personality made her every visit to friends' homes, to family reunions and to social gatherings a memorable joy that will be keenly missed by many.
She is survived by her only sibling, Frank ("Frankie") H. Stephenson of Carrabelle, Florida; a beloved niece, Kate Stephenson DeCosmo of Tallahassee, Florida; her devoted companion and partner for many years, John Bartels of Fairhope; a cousin, Debra Schmidt (Jason) of Fairhope; along with many other cousins in Alabama, Florida, Georgia, Virginia and elsewhere; lifelong friends, Mary Goynes of Destrehan, Louisiana and Dona Seidel of Kansas City, Missouri; and a godchild, Bruce Gaines Hall (Thomas) of Berlin, Germany.
A private celebration of Janie's life will be held May 24, 2020 at the Fairhope Yacht Club where she enjoyed the camaradie and friendship among members for many years.
Donations in her memory are most welcomed and should be directed to the Baldwin County Humane Society, one of her most important charities.