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Donnya Elle Stephens

Donnya Elle Stephens was born in Linden, Texas. She graduated from Fairview High School in 1958 and earned the Bachelor of Science in Business Education at Prairie View A&M University, graduating in 1960. Also, she served as a part-time instructor in the English Department at Prairie View during her senior year. From 1961 to 1973, she was a member of the English faculty in the Lufkin public schools, attending graduate school during the summer at Stanford University, East Texas State University, Prairie View A&M University and Stephen F. Austin State University. She received her Master of Education degree from Stephen F. Austin State University in 1974. Donnya earned the Doctor of Education degree from East Texas State University in 1981. She taught for two years at Kilgore College before joining the Education faculty of SFA in 1975 and retired from Stephen F. Austin in 2011.
In service to her profession and to her community, Donnya sponsored numerous student organizations on SFA Campus, including Delta Signa Theta Sorority, Omega Phi Si Fraternity, SFASU National Pan-Hellenic Council, SFA Texas Student Education Association (TFEA), American Association of University Women Student Affiliates, Kung-Fu Club. Also, she was a mentor for minority students. She was a member of over thirty College and university committees. Serve served as a consultant to and on accreditation teams for public school throughout the East Texas Area.
In Nacogdoches, Donnya was committed to community service. She served as president, Literacy Volunteers of Nacogdoches, vice president for United Way Board, East Texas Community Health Center Board and Nacogdoches Adult Learning Center Board, secretary for Community Action Nacogdoches, Inc. Board, Head Start Advisory Council, member of the Nacogdoches Historical Preservation Committee, Mayor’s Committee for Disabled Persons in Nacogdoches, and volunteer for Empty Stocking Fund Distribution.
In recognition of her outstanding contributions to the quality of life both on campus and in the community, Donnya was inducted into the Texas Women’s Hall of Fame. She was honored with the Regents Professor and Distinguished Alumni Awards at Stephen F. Austin State University. Also, she was recognized as Women of the Year by the American Association of University Women, The Top Ladies of Distinction, Inc. and University Professional Women. In addition, she was recognized as a Nabisco Fellow for Economic Education.
Donnya was a member of the Salem Missionary Baptist Church, Linden, Texas. Among the organizations she held membership in were Top Ladies of Distinction, Inc., National Council of Negro Women, Inc., American Association of University Women, Phi Delta Kappa, Business and Professional Women, Association for Supervision and Curriculum Development, Association for Supervision and Curriculum Development, Texas Society for College Teachers of Education.
She is survived by her sister, Helen S. Cooper and brother, Rayford V. Stephens, both of Humble, Texas and a wealth of loving and caring relatives and devoted friends. She was preceded in death by her parents, Sherman and Mae Luster Stephens; grandparents, Leroy Smith and Lue Edna Smith Givens; step grandfather, Looney Givens, and aunt, Carrie Genette Smith.
Services are Saturday, October 16, 2021, at 11 AM at Salem Missionary Baptist Church, 1754 County Road, Linden, Texas 75563 with Pastor Rev. Roy Bailey officiating. Interment is in Salem Cemetery, Linden, Texas.
Visitation is Friday, October 15, 2021, at Linden Funeral Home, 12PM to 6PM, 1411 Nelson St., Linden, Texas.
Safety protocols will be followed. Self-provided face masks are required during visitation.

Published October 13, 2021

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