Oakley Ronald “Ron” Stephenson

November 6, 1935 – June 23, 2021

Obituary for Oakley Ronald “Ron” Stephenson

Oakley Ronald Stephenson, age 85, of Dallas, Texas, went home to be with his Savior, Jesus Christ, on June 23, 2021. He was born November 6, 1935, in Tampa, Florida, to Oakley Samuel and Hester Stephenson. His early years were spent in Miami, Florida, where he learned to love the beach, Joe’s Stone Crab and the Biltmore Hotel in Coral Gables. Ron worked various jobs from an early age in Coral Gables and carried that work ethic with him throughout his life. No job or project was below him in order to provide for his extended family, and his life stories entertained many. Even in his 80’s, his alarm clock was set to 4:30 am, and the list of things to get done each day was finalized the previous evening. His will to live and live large motivated much of his life’s story and accomplishments.

After attending the University of Miami, Ron arrived in Dallas in 1956, on his way to a job in California. At the Southwestern Motor Freight Bureau, he met Mom and never left Dallas, where they built their family and business together for 61 years. His career in the transportation industry took him to many locales as he built the pricing system for much of the regulated motor carrier industry. Known as “Operating Ratio (O.R.) Stephenson”, Ron gathered a host of clients who became friends and who continued to keep up with him in his later years. His skill as an expert witness during regulatory hearings at the Railroad Commission of Texas, state capitols across the nation, and the ICC in Washington, D.C., was legendary, perfecting the game face, authoritative voice and statistical acumen needed to win cases. He insisted on precision and usually got it, except when Mother stepped in to smooth rough edges.

Ron’s career began anew at age 65 when he became Baylor Healthcare System’s biggest cheerleader. Charged with a year-long consulting project to centralize medical records storage for BHCS, he remained there until 2020 as Director of Records Management. Even in his 80’s, Ron maintained a hectic work pace and loved his colleagues and every minute of his work for Baylor. Baylor kept him focused on excellence at an age when his friends were long retired. His memory was exceptional. He could remember the smallest of details and work out complex problems in his sleep. He often remarked he could relive each frame of his life with a movie that ran inside his head.

Throughout life, Ron found happiness in surprising people with gifts small to large, ranging from Stein’s Cheese Pockets (Baylor Biscuits), magazine subscriptions, classic neckties or model (or real) cars, his favorite. He collected vintage Corvettes and rebuilt them as a hobby in mid-life. An avid reader, he finished at least one book each week, and his last fun project was setting up his personal library at home. His lifelong love of good music grew from his early years with the Drum and Bugle Corp where he traveled to Cuba as a young adult, his high school years as a talented competitive ballroom dancer and his admiration for his Uncle Claude, an executive with MGM and a movie and music aficionado. Ron loved his music loud, his cars fast and his pranks unforgettable. In all things, he sought and admired excellence.

Ron was a patriot’s Patriot, served in the Army National Guard and loved his country, and those who serve it with a deep passion. His early military training and career taught him the discipline and fortitude that marked every endeavor he undertook. After losing his best friend to Viet Nam as a POW, Ron supported causes tied to military veterans throughout his life. His friends from Coral Gables High School and his Ching Tang fraternity remained lifelong chums with reunions at Coral Gables that brought him great joy. After his injury, Ron took on his rehabilitation with the same drive and determination that marked his career and early life. He took great pride in the talented physicians, therapists and caregivers who helped him recover and made his last days more enjoyable. His family remains grateful to each physician, therapist and caregiver who advised, comforted and inspired him to live his life fully.

Ron was baptized as a youth at Central Christian Church in Miami, FL and again in 1985 with his wife at Park Cities Baptist Church when they joined the church. They both served there in the New Members Department under Dr. James Pleitz. He recently attended a Life Group at Hunter’s Glen Baptist Church where he had many friends. His life verse was Proverbs 12:28. Ron was a graduate of the Command and General Staff College in Ft. Leavenworth, Kansas, and held licenses from the military for nuclear weapons and security intelligence. He held memberships in and supported numerous conservative causes throughout his life.

Known as Gran to his grandchildren, Ron loved to brag about their accomplishments. He was always encouraging his grandchildren to take advantage of the education they had been offered and to work hard to earn their way in life. Even in his last months, he regularly shared his pride in what his grandchildren were accomplishing and talked about their chosen life paths. He was always planning a special meal out or dinner on the grill for his family when they visited. He loved and insisted upon good food and was a food “snob” long before it became popular.

Ron is predeceased by his wife of 61 years, Paula Kemp Stephenson; parents, Oakley and Hester Stephenson, of Miami, Florida; sisters, Audrey Ramsey of Dallas, Texas; Christine Norton of Miami, Florida; and Myrt Cumbie of Miami, Florida. He will be desperately missed by those he leaves behind: his son, Eric Carlton Stephenson of New York City; daughter, Michelle Bufkin of Dallas; son-in-law, Chuck Bufkin; grandchildren, Augusta, Carlton and Jonathan Stephenson, and Morgan and Chase Bufkin; sister, Doris Stewart of Atlanta, Georgia; brother, Douglas Stephenson of Hot Springs, Arkansas; numerous nieces and nephews; and friends too numerous to count.

A private burial will be followed by a Memorial Service and reception celebrating Ron’s life on Friday, July 9, 2021, at 12 noon, in Ellis Chapel at Park Cities Baptist Church, 3933 Northwest Parkway, Dallas, Texas. Visitation will be on Thursday, July 8, from 4 pm – 6 pm at Restland Funeral Home, 13005 Greenville Avenue, Dallas, Texas.

To honor Ron’s zest for life, patriotism and faith, his family requests in lieu of flowers that donations may be made in his memory to The Children’s Organ Transplant Association in honor of Brandon Nolan (Children’s Organ Transplant Association > COTA for Brandon N), The National Vietnam War Museum (Home | The National Vietnam War Museum (nationalvnwarmuseum.org), or The Lone Star State Endowed Scholarship at Hillsdale College (Support Hillsdale College | Hillsdale College). Ron’s generous spirit, mischievous smile and twinkle in his eye will live on whenever his friends take time to read a good book, enjoy a fine meal or dance to Big Band music.

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Upcoming Events


JUL 8. 4:00 PM – 6:00 PM (CST)

Restland Funeral Home

13005 Greenville Avenue

Dallas, TX 75243


Celebration of Life

JUL 9. 12:00 PM (CST)

Park Cities Baptist Church -Ellis Chapel

3933 Northwest Parkway

Dallas, TX 75225


Cemetery Details

Restland Memorial Park

13005 Greenville Avenue

Dallas, TX 75243