Inez Bryant Stevens, passionate in her love of plants and animals

Inez Bryant Stevens

WILMINGTON — Inez Bryant Stevens peacefully passed away Tuesday, April 27, 2021.

She leaves behind her two sons, John and Mike; daughter-in-law of 40 years, Marilyn; and six grandchildren and eight great grandchildren, all of whom she loved dearly. She was preceded in death by her husband of over 60 years, J.B. Stevens Jr.; and sister, Nadine.

Inez lived in the Audubon/Winter Park area of Wilmington in the same house where she raised her children for approximately 63 years. She was passionate in her love of plants and animals, as showcased in her beloved acre in the middle of the city and in her work and ownership of The Nature of Things pet shop/kennel/grooming establishment. She grafted award-winning plants that were displayed every year in the Cape Fear Flower Show. She raised exotic birds, reptiles, potbellied pigs, dogs, cats and monkeys, to name just a few. One of the monkeys her grandchildren affectionately referred to as Uncle Monkey! She grew coral reefs and maintained an enormous amount of both fresh and saltwater fish. One of her most prized achievements was breeding and showing German Shepherds, of note was her dog Brett, who was awarded an AKC National Grand Championship.

She learned to cook at an early age, as she was raised in a single-parent home and would stand on an old wooden drink-crate to cook for her and her sister. Everyone she knew had their own favorite dish that she would gladly prepare for them. Every day, she would prepare a delicious meal from scratch for her family that would be placed on the table when J.B.’s car pulled in the driveway. No meal was complete without a made-from-scratch dessert. All the neighborhood children would gather on the Stevens’ back stoop to wait until dinner was over, then she would break out the dessert and ensure each child received a portion. Thanksgiving and Christmas were always quite the feast at the Stevens’ house.

Inez beat cancer seven times in her life and was one of the strongest individuals we have ever encountered. Many times her physicians counted her out for her to bounce back stronger than ever. She was a real talker who would strike up a conversation with anyone. This proved to be a big challenge in her life when cancer forced her to undergo a laryngectomy in 2012. She never verbally spoke again, but that did not stop her from communicating. She turned all of us into expert lip readers and did not take kindly to us missing the point! She was also the most astute iPhone 89-year-old texter you will ever meet. She was loved and will be missed by all that had the opportunity to engage her.

Visitation will be held at noon, Friday, May 7, at Coble Funeral & Cremation Service at Greenlawn Memorial Park, 1155 Shipyard Blvd. A funeral Mass will immediately follow at 1 p.m. in the chapel. Burial will follow in Greenlawn Memorial Park.

In lieu of flowers, the family requests donations to be made in Inez’s name to a local animal shelter.

Arrangements by Coble Funeral and Cremation Service at Greenlawn Memorial Park.

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