As Residents of over 10 years here at University Village, Bob and Evelyn Stephens may easily be called cornerstones of the Cottage Community. Both born and raised in Oklahoma, Evelyn in Salina, OK and Bob in the area around Grand Lake, they have traveled and lived across many different countries throughout the world. Evelyn spent most of her married life as a homemaker, travelling with Bob through his career in the Air Force, and said she enjoyed their time in Switzerland most. Interestingly enough, Bob is a veteran of not only the Air Force, but the Navy as well. Through his many years of service to his country, including some time spent as a baker and cook for the Navy and a recruiter for the Air Force, Bob, Evelyn, and their two children, Denny and Denise traveled a great deal and took every new experience in stride. They never forgot Oklahoma, however, and after leaving the Air Force, the family settled on a farm in Skiatook as Bob then worked as the Food Service Director at Hillcrest. In addition, the family raised cattle, horses and catfish in the two ponds that were located on their farm. Some days, they would process as many as 200 catfish every day.
Bob and Evelyn celebrated their 60th wedding anniversary here at University Village. Evelyn and Bob met while Bob was on leave from the Navy and attended Evelyn’s church with his family. “I saw him coming in and I said to my mom ‘Look at that sailor!’” Bob and Evelyn only had the time for one date before he had to return to duty, but they continued their relationship through hand-written letters and only two years later they married. Their continued love for each other is very clear to see, even after almost 63 years together. In response to the question, “What is your secret to a long, happy life?” Both responded in the same way: “Love and respect.”
As long-standing residents of University Village, Bob and Evelyn have been very influential within the community. With his experience on their farm, Bob helped to begin the community garden at University Village and continued to work with it for many years. Even after he was no longer in charge of the garden, he continued to maintain his own personal garden in the backyard of their cottage up until this past year. Their beautiful 3 bedroom cottage has been their home for the past 10 years. They appreciate the help that the University Village staff provides in the upkeep of their home. They also enthusiastically endorsed the Chapel services at University Village, especially those with Chaplain Merle. Bob has also served previously as the Chairman for the Resident Advisory Committee during their time at University Village, while Evelyn previously helped out in the computer room. “We are very blessed to be here”, Evelyn said.