Cover photo for Walter Stephenson's Obituary
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1939 Walter 2022

Walter Stephenson

May 26, 1939 — August 10, 2022

Walter Terry Stephenson, 83, of Spartanburg, SC died Wednesday, August 10, 2022 at his home. Born May 26, 1939 in Fuquay Springs, Wake County, NC and reared in Wilmington, NC, he was the son of the late William Shelton and Mavis Matthews Stephenson.

Terry graduated from New Hanover High School, then earning his Associate in Arts from Wilmington College (UNC-Wilmington) and then earned his Bachelor of Science and Master of Arts in Mathematics from Appalachian State University. He did graduate work in Computer Science at the University of South Carolina.

After marrying Gloria Raylene Ball of Thomasville, NC in 1964 the couple moved to Spartanburg, SC. Terry retired in 2006 from Spartanburg Methodist College after 42 years as Professor of Mathematics, a Professor of Computer Science, and SMC’s first Director of Computer Services, designing and setting up SMC’s first computer system.

While at SMC, Terry served as the Golf Coach from 1970 - 1978, leading his team to qualify for 3 National Junior College Golf Tournaments. Terry also served as the Athletic Director from 1976 - 1983 and President of the Western Carolina Junior College Conference from 1975 - 1980.

Terry designed and donated the Ceremonial Mace to SMC on April 23, 2004 for use at graduation in the Procession of the Graduates and other events.

Teaching and working with young people was his passion. For over 35 years Terry volunteered with American Youth Soccer Organization serving as a coach, referee, instructor, Regional Commissioner and Area Director. Seeing a need for more opportunities for girls, Terry and Raylene created an AYSO Girls program in 1989, hoping to increase the number of girls playing soccer. Their efforts increased dramatically from 160 to 1500 girls playing the game. He was also an AYSO Area 5E Director and organized the Spartan Games Tournament.

In the late 1970’s, Terry was a founding member of Westside Boosters, a youth athletic booster club for Spartanburg’s Woodland Heights Recreation Center in addition to coaching youth baseball and basketball for many years.

He was also a member and past president of the West View Ruritan Club. Terry was Cub Master of Cub Scout Troop #23 from 1978-1984.

Mr. Stephenson earned many accolades: Inducted in 1995 as SMC Athletic Hall of Fame as Coach and Athletic Director, 100 SMC Pioneers Award, SMC Exemplary Teacher Award, awarded SMC Huff Faculty Prize, 2001 SC Recreation and Parks Association Citizen / Lay Volunteer Award.

A past member of Arcadia United Methodist Church, he served in numerous leadership roles through the years, he and his wife, Raylene served as Sunday School teachers and UMYF Leaders. Terry was also an usher and past Chairman of the Administrative Council. Present members of Reidville Road United Methodist Church, Terry served as youth Sunday School teacher and was a member of the building committee.

Survivors include his wife of 58 years, Gloria Raylene Stephenson of the home; their children, James Terry Stephenson (Janna) of Denver, CO, Kevin Ray Stephenson (Rhonda) of Greenville, SC, and Heather Grace Burch (Jack) of Matthews, NC; grandchildren, Grace Anna and Matthew Hiram Burch; his brother, Lynwood Stephenson, of Fayetteville, NC; along with many nieces and nephews. Along with his parents, he was predeceased in death by an infant son, Walter David Stephenson, and his siblings, Howard Stephenson, Darnell Stephenson, Elender Blackburn, Loyd Stephenson, Ann Greer, and Phillip Stephenson.

Visitation will be 5:00 – 7:00 pm Saturday, August 13, 2022 at Floyd’s Greenlawn Chapel, 2075 East Main Street, Spartanburg, SC 29307. Funeral service will be 2:00 pm Sunday, August 14, 2022 at the chapel, conducted by The Reverend Candice Sloan. Burial will follow in Greenlawn Memorial Gardens, 1300 Fernwood-Glendale Road, Spartanburg, SC 29307.

In lieu of flowers, memorials may be made to The Walter Terry & Gloria Raylene Endowed Scholarship, c/o Spartanburg Methodist College, 1000 Powell Mill Road, Spartanburg, SC 29301 or online at

Floyd’s Greenlawn Chapel

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Service Schedule

Past Services


Saturday, August 13, 2022

5:00 - 7:00 pm (Eastern time)

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Funeral Service

Sunday, August 14, 2022

Starts at 2:00 pm (Eastern time)

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