Mrs. Lea M. Stephens, age 60 of Yulee, passed away on Friday afternoon, March 31, 2017 at Shands Hospital in Jacksonville; with her husband by her side.
Born in New Orleans, LA, she was one of five children born to Alfred and Patricia Guthrie Philipp. Lea grew up in the “Upper Peninsular” of Michigan where she graduated from L’Anse High School, Class of 1975. Due to her father’s career the family returned to New Orleans in 1975. She later attended Fashion Design School in Dallas, TX. In the mid 1990s, she joined her family in Nassau County and worked at the Amelia Plantation Company. In the mid 2000s Lea obtained her Speciality Contractor’s License and she and her late husband, Joey Sorrells founded Atlantic Custom Exteriors of Northeast Florida. In 2008, Lea was diagnosed with Breast Cancer and this began her own journey of self discovery while providing care to her husband and his battle with lung and brain cancer. Her husband passed away in 2009. In 2011, during the annual Fernandina Shrimp Festival, she met Fernandina Beach native Joey Stephens and their love story began. In 2012 Lea and Joey were married and from that day forward their love for each other grew beyond boundaries. In 2013 while visting the Saturday morning Farmer’s Market, Lea found a mixed Terrier that immediately worked his way into her heart and into the heart of Joey; upon her bringing him home. From that day forward, Lea, Joey and Champ became inseperable. On any given afternoon, the three of them could be found sitting on their back deck overlooking Lofton Creek; which in her words was the most beautiful view that she had ever experienced.
Lea enjoyed the out of doors, whether it be, hiking the Appalachian Trail and camping or traveling the world.
She was a member of St. Michael Catholic Church in Fernandina Beach.
Lea leaves behind her husband, Joseph “Joey” Stephens, Yulee, FL, their baby, Champ, her parents, Alfred and Patricia Philipp, Fernandina Beach, FL, a step daughter, Holley Sorrells, New York City, NY, siblings, Bill and Karen Philipp, Jackson, MS, Linda and Bill Neyman, Atlanta, GA, Bob and Tina Philipp, Fernandina Beach, FL, Bern and Linda Philipp, Boca Raton, FL and many nieces and nephews.
A time of gathering and celebration of her life will be held at a later date.
In lieu of flowers, memorial contributions are encouraged to the National Breast Cancer Foundation, 2600 Network Blvd., Suite 300, Frisco, TX 75034