Carl Murphy Stephens |

Carl Murphy Stephens

Carl Murphy Stephens of Rifle died Friday, Aug. 8, 2003, at the Colorado State Veterans Nursing Home in Rifle. He was 87.

He was born Aug. 31, 1915, in Lindsay, Okla., to Elbert and Bertha (Creel) Stephens.

His family came to the Piceance Creek Basin in 1919 in a covered wagon, and later moved to Rulison. He attended school in both places.

He worked as a rancher and a miner, and served in the Army Air Corps from Oct. 8, 1943, to Aug. 2, 1945. He served on the European front of World War II, earning citations for good conduct, the European African Middle Eastern service medal, a distinguished unit citation with two bronze stars, and battle honors for gallantry and extraordinary heroism in armed conflict with the enemy.

He married Martha Kaufman on March 29, 1946. They lived in Rangely and Myton, Utah, until 1961, when Mr. Stephens returned to Rifle.

He worked in the natural gas fields until retirement.

He enjoyed spending time with his grandchildren and cutting wood for winter heat. He was known as “Grandpa” by many friends in the community.

Mr. Stephens is survived by sons and daughters-in-law Lester and Alethea Stephens, Marvin and Terry Stephens, and Reed Stephens, all of Rifle; by daughters and son-in-law Carol and Pat Hisel of Mesa, and Charlene Stephens of Rifle; by a sister, Mary Ann Erickson of Silt; by a brother, Leslie Stephens of Milwaukee; by an aunt, Alma Creel of Las Vegas; and by nine grandchildren and eight great-grandchildren.

Visitation will be from 1-4 p.m. on Friday, Aug. 15, at the Rifle Funeral Home, 1400 Access Road in Rifle.

A memorial service will be held at 10 a.m. on Saturday, Aug. 16, at the First Christian Church of Rifle, with the Rev. Dene Johnson officiating. Burial will follow at Rose Hill Cemetery in Rifle.

Pallbearers will be Mr. Stephens’ grandsons Carl, Scott, Dale, Lee and Luke Stephens and David and Roy Hisel. Honorary pallbearers will be Mr. Stephens’ great-grandsons Logan Stephens, Alex Abraham and Caleb Hisel.

Family and friends are invited to a lunch at the First Christian Church of Rifle after the service.

Rifle Funeral Home is in charge of arrangements.

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