Ray L. Stephenson was born January 25, 1930, son of Raymond M. and Beulah Stephenson, in Murray, Iowa, a small town south of Des Moines. He attended public schools in Murray until his family moved to Omak, Washington, where he graduated from high school in 1948. He followed a general course of study at Wenatchee Valley College before going to work for National Bank of Commerce, Wenatchee in 1950. Genny Stephenson was born in South Dakota on March 30, 1936. Genevieve is the daughter of John and Marjorie Chytka. At the age of eleven, her family moved to Okanagon, Washington, where Genny went to school. Genny graduated from Beaverton High.
Ray and Genny were married in Omak, Washington on June 10, 1953. In October 1953 they relocated to Beaverton, and Ray began a nine-year stint with US National Bank. Genny finished high school in 1954 while working part time at an insurance agency. Ray and Genny had three children: Rodney (1955), Larry (1956) and Tammie (1959). While the young ones were in school, Genny began a career of public relations in banking, welcoming new people to the community. In 1978, Genny and Ray moved to Corvallis when Ray took the position of Vice President of Citizens Bank, and was promoted to President two years later when Harris Rosendahl retired. Genny worked several years for the City of Corvallis, in the engineering department and fire department administration.
Ray served as a member, board member, committee chairman, fund raiser, or president for numerous organizations over the years, including Men’s Garden Club, Junior Achievement, United Way, Old Mill Center, Senior Retirement Village, City of Corvallis Vision 2010, the Corvallis Downtown Committee, the Downtown Corvallis Association, OSU Beaver Club, Kiwanis Club, Corvallis Area Chamber of Commerce, and Rotary. In 1988, he joined the BCF Board of Directors. Ray maintained the close relationship between BCF and Citizens Bank that has existed since BCF formation in 1953. He served as BCF’s board chair in 1993 and 1994 and accepted the office of treasurer beginning in 1996. After sixteen years of faithful service to BCF, he retired from the Board in June of 2004.
Genny volunteered with Benton County Hospice for more than two decades and was a long-time active member of the Assistance League of Corvallis. In 1996, Ray retired from Citizens Bank and the couple teamed up to volunteer for Meals on Wheels. “Ray drove and I did the running,” said Genny.
In 2014, the Stephenson’s moved to Montana to live close to their daughter, Tammie. Sadly, Genny died Aug. 3, 2014. Both Ray and Genny will be sorely missed in Benton County, Oregon.
In addition to their prodigious volunteerism they provided to our local community, Ray & Genny established five endowed funds with BCF to benefit local charities in perpetuity:
- The Genny Stephenson Hospice Fund provides an annual distribution to Benton Hospice Service.
- The Stephenson Family Meals On Wheels Fund provides an annual distribution to the Cascade West Council of Government for their Meals on Wheels program in Benton County.
- The Stephenson Family Old Mill Center Fund provides an annual distribution to the Old Mill Center for Children & Families.
- The Ray & Genny Stephenson Vina Moses Fund provides an annual distribution to Vina Moses Center.
- The Stephenson Family General Fund is part of the Community Grants pool and the annual distributable income from these funds are used to award grants to Benton County Charities in BCF’s competitive granting cycle.