Julien Raye Stevens Jr., fondly remembered as Rod Stevens, passed away serenely on the morning of October 10, 2023. Born on January 17, 1938, in Leesville, Louisiana, Julien Jr. held the distinguished legacy of being a third-generation resident of Vernon Parish and leaving behind the sixth generation.
The son of Julien Raye Stevens Sr. and Mamie Wead Stevens, Julien Jr. had deep roots in the community. As a boy, he dedicated many days assisting his grandfather, Hurd Maurice Stevens (born 1838), to stock the shelves of the family’s grocery store in Leesville. Completing his early education, Julien Jr. proudly graduated from Leesville High School in 1956 and furthered his studies at Northwestern State University.
Life took a romantic turn when he wed Marilyn Owen on February 15, 1958. The couple’s journey together saw them relocating to Amarillo, TX, due to the closure of Fort Polk military installation. While in Amarillo, Julien Jr. donned the hat of a construction worker. Their travels later brought them to Houston, where Julien Jr. served guests at the then glamorous Shamrock Hilton as a bellhop.
However, at his core, Julien Jr. was a spirited entrepreneur. Throughout his life, he embarked on numerous ventures, from owning and operating heavy machinery, owning and managing timber operations, owning a slew of diverse businesses — ranging from liquor and convenience stores, a mobile home sales center, to a flight school and charter service in DeRidder, LA. Julien Jr. had an unmatched knack for spotting business opportunities, often diving into side jobs to further provide for his family.
A passionate outdoorsman, Julien Jr. relished in hunting and fishing adventures. He cherished the moments spent amidst the majestic mountains of Washington, New Mexico, and Colorado. His spontaneity was legendary; he was known to embark on sudden road trips to south Louisiana, driven by an insatiable craving for blue crabs or crawfish. Julien Jr. embraced life with vigor, love, and abundant laughter.
He leaves behind a legacy of love: his devoted wife of 65 years, Marilyn Owen Stevens; brothers, Travis Stevens (Andree) and Milton Stevens (Marie); sisters, Karen Stevens Hebert and Helen Doucet (Richard); sons, Julien Raye Stevens III, known as Butch (Jennifer Bergeron) and Rickey Owen Stevens (Vikki Davis); six grandchildren: Bridget Stevens Hazel (Chris), Brandon Blanchard Stevens (Haley Tuck), Julien Brock Stevens (Jessica Anderson), William Cole Stevens, Evan Grant Stevens, and Christopher Tate Stevens. Julien Jr. also had the joy of being surrounded by seven great-grandchildren: Mathew Hazel, Taylor Stevens, Jae Lynn Stevens, Madelyn Hazel, MaKylee Stevens, Blanchard Stevens, and Ava Mae Stevens. He had the joy of having many nieces and nephews as well.
Julien Jr.’s spirit, entrepreneurial drive, and love for the great outdoors will continue to inspire and live on in the hearts of those who had the pleasure of knowing him.
Funeral services for Julien Jr. wwere held on Saturday, October 14, 2023, at First Baptist Church of Leesville with Reverend Jason Nolde officiating and Chuck Owen speaking. The burial followed in Leesville Cemetery under the direction of Jeane’s Funeral Service. Pallbearers were Brandon Stevens, Brock Stevens, Cole Stevens, Grant Stevens, Chris Hazel, and Phillip Landry. Honorary pallbearers were Jimmy Craft and Richard Schwartz.
In lieu of flowers, please consider making a donation in Julien Jr.’s memory to the Lions Crippled Children’s Camp.