Graveside services followed in Lone Cherry Church Cemetery in Richland Parish.
Sonny was born January 11, 1933 in Richland Parish, and went to be with the Lord on Saturday, February 7, 2009, while in Rapides Regional Medical Center in Alexandria, Louisiana, after an extended illness.
He was a member of Temple Baptist Church of Winnsboro and the World Congress of Baptist Men and was an ordained deacon. He loved his Sunday School class taught by Don Middleton. Sonny was one of the founders of Bread of Life Missions, Inc. Because of his love for missions, he participated in several missionary endeavors in the Northwest United States and Mexico; and he has been a lay speaker as well as serving as interim pastor.
He had a great love for bluegrass and gospel bluegrass music. Being a banjo and mandolin player, he played with several bluegrass gospel bands.
In 1963 he was the last person in Louisiana to earn a degree in law under the Grandfather Rule by passing the Bar studying at home without attending law school. In 1978 he was elected to a Fifth District Judgeship. Sonny earned the rank of Lieutenant in the Louisiana National Guard. During what could have been retirement years, Sonny taught school, coached girls basketball, and drove a school bus for Baskin Junior High School.
Preceding Sonny in death were his parents Mr. and Mrs. A.J. Stephens and a daughter Sonni Lynn Ezell. His surviving family includes his wife of 55 years Z. Ruth Fletcher Stephens; son Judge James Mark Stephens and wife Faith of Baskin, Louisiana; son Matthew Fletcher Stephens and wife Cynthia of Calhoun, Louisiana; daughter Shonni Leah Oswald and husband Fred of Folson, Louisiana; brother Johnny Stephens and wife Betty of Lebanon, Tennessee; and sister Patsy Wilson and husband Tommy of Lebanon, Tennessee. His grandchildren are Stephen Ezell, Tyler Ezell, David Stephens, Hollyn Stephens, Dakota Stephens, Ru Oswald, Sonni Lynn Oswald, and Darby Stephens. His great grandchild is Dylan Ezell.
Pallbearers were Dewey Donnell, Sammy Holcomb, Don Middleton, Doug Moony, James Richardson, and Brian Wilson. Honorary pallbearers will be Fifth Judicial District Bar Association Members.
The family wishes for friends who choose to give a memorial, purchase a book for Baskin Junior High Library in Sonny’s name.
Online condolences may be made at www.gillfirstnational.com.