Virginia McKarem Stevens, age 91, passed away peacefully surrounded by her loving family on Sunday, September 17, 2023. Virginia was born March 12, 1932 in Jefferson City, Tennessee and grew up in Kingsport, Tennessee. She attended Dobyns-Bennett High School where she met her childhood sweetheart and beloved husband, Doyle (Tom) Stevens. After high school, they both attended the University of Tennessee in Knoxville where she received her bachelor’s degree. Virginia and Tommy were married 69 years on September 9, 2023. Her husband, Tom passed away on September 8, 2023, one day before their 69th anniversary. What a love story. In life, in death, in life eternal. Together.
Virginia and Tom lived in various locations throughout the eastern United States while Tom served in the U.S. Army and worked for Burlington Industries. Eventually, Virginia and Tom moved to Memphis, Tennessee where their two children, Karen and Greg, were born and raised. During their time in Memphis, they founded and built Distribution and Transportation Services, Inc. (DTS) into a large independent transportation and logistics family of companies throughout the southeastern U.S. In addition to working with Tommy at DTS, Virginia was also very involved in school, church, and civic groups throughout the Memphis community. She served on school committees for Whitehaven Methodist Day School and Memphis Preparatory School, as well as church committees and Sunday School teacher at Whitehaven United Methodist Church. Throughout her years in Memphis, she was also an active member of the 20th Century Garden Club, Maternal Welfare, Friends of Pink Palace, Josephine Circle and Kennedy Book Club. After retirement, Virginia and Tom moved to Franklin, Tennessee to be near their children and grandchildren.
During vacations and in retirement, Virginia and Tom loved spending time together with family at their beach house in Destin, Florida. We will always remember how happy they both were to share everything they had with us and everyone they loved – their generosity has left a mark on all of us. Virginia loved tennis and bridge and just being with her friends. Virginia delighted in her grandchildren and loved spending time with them, attending their school activities, sports events, meeting their friends, and being a part of their everyday lives. Her favorite “job” was being Grammie to Catherine, Steven, Annie and Alex, and great grandchild Calum. We will all miss our daily calls and texts. In true Virginia form, she made sure we were all okay even in her last days. Virginia has been the family’s constant axis, and she will be greatly missed.
The family would like to thank our private caregivers, Pam Robertson and Ardalia Boone for loving Tom and Virginia like family – they provided us all with love and compassion and peace of mind. Most recently, both Virginia and Tom had an extended stay in the Palliative Care Unit at Vanderbilt University Medical Center. The family is so appreciative of the compassion, attentiveness and flexibility shown to both of our parents by the entire Vanderbilt care team.
Virginia was strong, loyal, courageous, and loved deeply and without bounds. She was a devoted wife, mother, grandmother, sister, aunt, and friend. She was a faithful member of Whitehaven United Methodist Church and Christ United Methodist Church in Memphis, and Franklin First United Methodist Church in Franklin, Tennessee. Virginia was preceded in death by her husband, Doyle Thomas Stevens, Jr; father, Charles McKarem; mother, Ann Saab McKarem; family members, Samuel S. McKarem and Hilmey Hoyt McKarem. Virginia is survived by sister, Semeeha McKarem Clark; daughter, Karen (Bill) Kreager; son, Greg (Courtney) Stevens; grandchildren, Catherine (Gable) Adkins, Steven (Raquel) Kreager, Annie Stevens and Alex Stevens; great grandchild, Calum Kreager; many special in-laws, nieces, and nephews of the Stevens and McKarem families; and lifelong friend Caroline Caruthers. A joint Celebration of Life service will be conducted for Virginia and Tom at Williamson Memorial Funeral Home on Friday, September 29, 2023 at 12:00 pm. Visitation begins at 11:00 am.
Memorial gifts can be made to the Vanderbilt CIBS Survivorship Endowment fund. Please select the checkbox next to “Dedicate my donation in honor or in memory of someone.”
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