Friday, May 22, 2009

Friday May 22, 2009

Team Lisa,

This has been a long journey. Tonight we celebrate an amazing mother, wife, teacher, warrior, and friend. Shortly after 10:00 p.m. although Mom's spirit was still wiliing, her body failed. She has now gone to be with our Lord, and is at peace.

She takes with her the love and support that all of you provided during this journey. Once again we can't express our gratitide for those who stood by her in thought and prayer.

Through this experience, Mom has brought our family closer together in so many ways that we never would have imagined before. We spent countless hours learning more about each other than we ever new exsisted. We have mom to thank for that and will continue to be blessed by the many ways that she touched all of our lives.

We hope that you will continue to share your favorite memories with us through this blog. Please feel free to post any or all of your favorite memories or experiences shared with our wonderful Mother and Wife.

We will continue to update information on this blog including upcoming service times, as we know this will reach the largest amount of Team Lisa in the shortest amount oftime.

With love,

Joshua, Melissa, and Jim


  1. Dear Jim, Josh and Melissa,
    It was such a privilege to call Lisa my friend and mentor. Her love and spirit will remain in the lives of many students, teachers and friends. I learned so much from her just in the short time that I was lucky enough to work along side her at Carver. I know everyone feels grateful to all of you for allowing us to maintain our relationship with her through this process. I also feel that she is at peace now, but will continue to be a part of the lives of many.
    Lisa was truly lucky to have you by her side. You are the hope and reason that she was able to have the strength that she needed for so long. I will remember the many times that Lisa spoke with pride and love for each of you. Take good care of each other now.
    Sincerely with love,


  2. Dear Jim, Josh, and Melissa,
    All of you and Lisa have become such a symbol of strength and a beacon of hope for so many. I am truly blessed to have had Lisa as such a good friend for so many years. I never laughed harder with anyone. I continue to smile as I look back and recall so many happy
    memories. I am happy for all of you for what you have brought out of this experience (with Lisa's guidance throughout)and will treasure as a family for the rest of your lives. Please call on us at any time for anything at all.
    With our love and friendship,
    Louie, Jackie, Jen, and Ryan

  3. What an inspiration to all of us. She never gave up, no matter what was thrown at her and neither did you! We can't thank you enough for the daily updates. She will be dearly missed.

  4. Dear Jim, Josh and Melissa,

    I am going to miss Lisa and her warmth and caring personality and I feel truly blessed to have known her.

    I also want to thank you all for having kept all of us informed on a daily basis of her status. It really meant a lot to us.

    Please know that my thoughts and prayers are with you all.

  5. My sincerest heartfelt condolences and sympathies to the Stephenson family. My father also died of cancer recently. My thoughts and prayers are with you and your family at this very difficult time.

  6. Thank you, Jim, Melissa and Josh for keeping us informed of Lisa's courageous journey! Please let us know of how we can help you, as you plan the celebration of Lisa's life. Lisa has given me so much in the last two years and she will be with me forever! She loved you all so much, and was so proud to be your wife and mother. She also adored her precious grandchildren and I know that you all are the reasons she fought so hard! She is now at peace with her parents and will watch over all of you. She was truly a special person, the type that continues to touch lives forever! I will continue to keep you all in prayer.
    All my love,
    Nurse Judy

  7. Dear Jim, Josh and Melissa,

    Please know that we will miss our friend Lisa terribly. Her absence will be felt by many.
    When Lisa talked about family, most noticeable was the twinkle in her eyes and the joyous smile on her face. The pride in her heart and the love she shared for her family and grandchildren befits your celebration of an amazing mother, wife, teacher, warrior, and friend. You have been an amazing strength to all and to each other.
    Lisa has touched so many lives in her own gentle and encouraging way.

    She taught by example,
    She taught by love,
    She taught by support.
    She taught by encouragement.
    And that is what we know as our Lisa.

    She never felt sorry for herself and always maintained a can do attitude. Lisa would want others to celebrate her life journey and maintain her teaching role in all our encounters with each other.
    Let’s celebrate Lisa’s life! Because that is what she would want us to do.

    With Love,

  8. Jim, Josh, & Melissa,
    Thank you for sharing Lisa with us. You gave us a gift by allowing us to feel like we were with you all through some of this. You allowed us to feel truly a part of this team. That is something Lisa did all the time.

    So many of us loved Lisa from day one. She just had a way with sincerely caring for others that made you feel significant.

    As much as I will miss Lisa, I will not forget her. She made a lasting impression on me. It hurts to think that there are no more chances to be with her, thank her, hug her, talk to her, learn from her... Every day counts.

    We have all learned from this experience. I will continue to pray for your family. I know you will all be missing her and her place in your lives.

    Praying for your peacefulness and calm,
    Much love,
    Leslie Davison

  9. Dear Josh, Melissa, and Jim

    I am so sorry to hear of Lisa's passing. We all loved her so much and she was an inspiration to everyone. I will always remember the great memories of our families going to MarineLand, Knott's Berry Farm, going to each other's homes, and getting to celebrate everyone's milestones. It was always entertaining watching our moms make each other laugh until they were crying. Please let us know if there is anything we can do for you guys.

    With Love,

    Jen and Ryan

  10. I am so deeply sorry for this news of Lisa's passing. As you say she was a true warrior and an inspiration to each of us in sickness as well as in better times. Throughout these past months I know she felt your constant love and support. If this time gave you moments to share your innermost feelings with Lisa and she with you then that is a tremendous blessing. Her life was such an honorable one with many joys shared with each of you. It was always clear to me how she loved being a mother and a wife and a teacher. She was a wonderful leader for us at Carver. I will not forget her grace and her kindness. Thank you again for these daily blog posts. They kept us all informed and were so calming. I like to send out a big group hug to everyone esp. Team Lisa, all my lovely co-workers at Carver (our 2nd home). I really feel I need a group hug this morning. God Bless and Keep Lisa. She is truly in God's hands now.
    With love, Barb Cabot

  11. Dear Josh, Melissa and Jim,
    My sincere thoughts are with you all today. While reading the latest blog today I began to remember so many little things about your Mom (and wife). I met your Mom 17 years ago when I began working with her at how time flies! She taught me so much about teaching and truly inspired me. I will never forget when I was her aide in the computer lab...she always spoke so highly and proudly of you two. Soccer and Irish dancing were the current events back then :) When I graduated college and became a teacher your Mom gave me a "going away" gift. I remember it like it was yesterday. Included in her thoughtful gift were teaching essentials she wanted to give to me. One of which was a set of Mr. Sketch smelly markers.I still have them!! She was right, they really do last FOREVER! I have of course added to my collection over the last 12 years of teaching but everytime I use them (which is daily in my classroom) I think of her. Your Mom was truly an awesome person that has touched the lives of so many with her friendly, outgoing, enthusiastic and caring ways. I have followed your blog daily and will continue to do so.

    Thinking of You,

  12. Dear Jim, Josh, and Melissa,

    It's so hard to put words down when right now we are all feeling so much emotion. It is not often we come across a person so amazing that she is able to touch, inspire, and delight so many, but then, that was Lisa.

    I met Lisa 10 years ago when I first came to LBUSD and we clicked immediately. She used to visit my campus and provide inservices and I couldn't wait for the days she was scheduled. It didn't take long until we were friends, then as chance would have it, Lisa became my "boss" for a year while we were both in the Reading First program. When she was first assigned a principal at McKinley her mentor was my principal at Sutter and the three of us would often sit well into the evening discussing everything from students, test scores, kids, spouses, pets, gardening, well, I guess you get the picture. We soon started meeting monthly at various restaurants to have dinner and it was always such a treat to drive up and see Lisa's car there with her hat in the back window.

    During those many dinners Lisa always talked about the three of you. Jim, she would smile and giggle and say she had the best husband in the world. Josh, your mom always considered you such a special gift in her life. She frequently would remark that being your mother was such an honor and when you gave her her two grandchildren, she was bursting with pride at being "Nana". Melissa, you have only seen me a couple times but I have been there with you through your mom during your high school and college years! Such a beautiful daughter you are and how your mother loved you so!

    Thank you for sharing the past months with us, it has made it a little easier to let Lisa go. Please know that we all love you and are here for you not just now, but always. It comforts me to know that Lisa is smiling down at us with her Mom and Dad with her. May God bless you and all your family. Sincerely, Robyn Lunstad

  13. To Lisa and her beloved family,
    I've now been thinking for more than 12 hours about what to write about this amazing woman. I am truly at a loss for word because Lisa was a so amazing she really defies description. But, I'll try to tell you some of the things I've been thinking about.
    I met her as a trainer and immediately thought she was awesome. She knew how to be concise, articulate, and impart the information along with examples in a manner that teacher could handle after a long day. She was also a fellow upper grade teacher, if she told you you could do this with 35 kids, you could, because she had and she was speaking from experience. Her knowledge and experience were evident in just those first two hours, and I immediately felt like she was someone special.
    A few years later I got an even more amazing opportunity and that was to work with her at Carver as our Principal. Her knowledge of the district, curriculum, and children was just amazing. If she didn't know an answer first hand, she knew the phone call to make and I was often standing there while she made them. When she called, people responded. She was so well respected and everyone knew what a dynamic leader she was. It was an honor to work for her and to watch her in action. She had a vision for children and for learning and she never let that be clouded by anything. She was so active in present in the kids' lives that they loved her like no other. She spent lunch time with them, she learned about them, she was present at all events, and she made sure to acknowledge their achievements, both large or small. She loved kids and they love her.
    As a mentor, there was no one like her. Lisa knew that myself and my friend and colleague Jeana Luzzi had just finished our Masters in Ed. with an Admin. Credential, well I can tell you all our schooling didn't equal what Lisa taught us. She was so willing to explain everything she did, and how, and why, she was truly a teacher in every sense, whether to kids or adults.
    But my final thought on this amazing woman is just about her, as a person. She she was just nice,fun, and funny. I spent a lot of afternoons just chatting with her, as I know she did with so many other people she worked with, she really did care about all of us. She told me once, that she didn't have an class of kids anymore because she was an administrator, so the teachers and staff were her class and she made us all feel welcome. More importantly, she really cared about us all, she was amazing.
    Despite the pain we are feeling right now, we are all lucky that Lisa was part of our lives. She is one of a kind.
    Stephensons, while I can't imagine how hard this has been I want to thank you once again for allowing us to keep up with Lisa during this difficult time. Obviously , she has taught you well!
    Her memory will live on with all of us and I know I will think of her often as I start a lesson, do something a certain way, etc... because her influence and her spirit will always be there.
    Love, Tracy Hall

  14. Lisa was truly an amazing person. She was my principal, my coach, my supporter. She believed and trusted that what I was doing really helped kids. She affected my life in a tremendous way, and I am forever blessed to have had her in my life. I will never forget her words of encouragement and support. She was a wonderful leader and an amazing teacher of life. Her legacy will never be forgotten. She has touched thousands of lives and mine is only one of them.

  15. Dear Jim, Melissa, and Josh,

    I struggle as I sit here trying to convey the words I want to express to you all. As I know there are truly no words of comfort I can give to you that would ease The pain and loss you are going through. What I can say to you is that I have from my soul never met a more loving, compassionate, honorable, and giving
    woman, wife, mother, friend, and family.

    Lisa was, and is, and always will be an angel in my eyes. The selfish side of me wants her here so badly so I can have many more years to bond even closer to her as my sister in law, family, and friend. Our time was so short together. But the other side of me is so grateful to have had her in my life for the moments that the good Lord blessed me with. In one single afternoon I was shown what true
    beauty and grace is. And her name was Lisa.

    Both of us, Dave and I want you all to know how very much we love you. All of you. And miss you all so very much. You are in our prayers. And always carried in our hearts.

    All of our love,
    Dave and Marissa.

  16. Ater reading the blog early Sat. morning with the devestating news of Lisa's passing my heart is breaking and I cannot express the sorrow in my heart I am feeling for your family. Please know your grief is shared by all who knew her because to know Lisa was to love her.
    I feel so priveleged to have had the opportunity to work with such an amazing leader as Lisa.
    There was never a problem to small, Lisa gave 100% of her attention to it because if it was troublesome to you, then it was significant.
    Lisa also led by example
    If it was crazy sock day, Lisa was running around, pants rolled up with the craziest socks she could find. Pajama day- Yes our beloved principal was seen talking to parents, running the office, and running around campus, business as usual, just in "Blue Bunny P.J's.
    Lisa was truly a great lady and I will miss her as will so many others. Her spirit will live in our hearts always.
    God bless
    With Love, Josie Smith

  17. Dear Jim, Melissa, and Josh,

    Our condonlences go out to you and your extended family. Lisa was such an inspiration to all of us to persevere and to keep the faith. We will continue to keep all of you in our prayers. With Love,

    Rich and Shery Ghazarian

  18. Jim, Josh and Melissa,

    It has been an honor and pleasure to call your Mother my "dear friend". While working with her at McKinley during those two years, I learned so much from her. She was such an inspiration to me and always made me feel that anything was possible. She epitomized leadership and was truly my leadership mentor.

    Lisa and I shared a very special bond, as we both lost our own Mother's early from the same disease. We spent a great deal of time sharing fond memories of our Mothers.

    Thanks so much for allowing us to share in this journey with you. Lisa was such a special person, she touched my life in so many ways. I will always keep her close to my heart.

  19. Ever since our soccer days we have known of Lisa's kindness, gentleness, and genuine compassion. She is the ultimate Wife, Mother, Daughter, and Friend. In our hearts, she will always be Ryan's "Other Mom".

    What we have learned about Lisa in this final journey is the depth of her courage and awesome spirit. What a fighter!

    Jim, Josh, and Melissa, may the Lord wrap you in His love and help you through your grief.

    Love Always,
    Ed, Robin and Ryan

  20. One of the nicest person I've ever met, Lisa will indeed be missed. I remember her gentle nature, and bright smile every time I spoke to her. She is and will always be one of my favorite principal. Even though it saddens me to hear of her departure, it is reassuring to know that a part of her continues to live on within each of us. Her impact on each of our lives is a testament to the kind of person she is and what kind of life she lived. Take care...

  21. Lisa was one of the loveliest women I have ever known. Back in the "last century" when our daughters were Highland Dancing she was my friend and my inspiration. She always showed true grace. I will never forget her taking the pen and program out of my hand at Costa Mesa one year and writing the results for me because my hand was shaking. How silly that anxiety seems now, but Lisa understood it and just acted in true Lisa fashion.How lucky the world was to have her in it.
    Much love to you all,
    Mary Glynn

  22. Dear Jim, Josh & Melissa,
    My sincerest heartfelt sympathy goes out to each of you!
    This is Jodie Mitchell Monroe… I grew up right next door to your wife & Mom. We were best friends growing up and her parents bought their house at the same time as my parents did on Fairman Street. Your Grandpa, Bob was my Dad’s best man in their wedding. Esther was pregnant with Leland and couldn’t be in the wedding. Esther (Essie, as we affectionately called her) was our “second” Mom. She watched us;
    Duane, Laurie & I, when our parents were at work. And I would go over to their house for lunch when I was in elementary school.
    Lisa & I were in the same grade. We played dolls, dress-up and built playhouses etc… I spent the night with her in their trailer & in a makeshift room in their garage.
    I have so many fond memories of our childhood together.
    Her Dad used to scold us if he saw us on the fence between the houses and would tell us that he was going to “cut our ears off” if we didn’t get down. 
    Lisa & Esther hosted a baby shower for me when I was pregnant with Todd back in 1972.
    Josh, you may remember my boys; Todd (37), Jake (35) & Jeremiah (33)… they all three wore glasses??? You would play with them when we came for a visit in the summer. We moved to Washington in the early 1980’s.
    The last time I saw Lisa was at our 20 year High School Reunion in 1994. Other than the annual Christmas cards, we have lost touch and I’m so sorry that I didn’t know anything about what was going on in your lives until today when I got an email forwarded about her passing.
    My mother, Karlene Mitchell passed away from breast cancer a few years after Esther. And my Dad, Dwight Mitchell (82) lives in Escondido, CA now, close to my brother, Duane. He was just diagnosed with skin cancer and isn’t doing very well. Jake, Jer & I are flying down next month to see him.
    We send our prayers & thoughts for each of you, that the Lord will comfort you in this time of sorrow.
    In His name,

  23. Dear Jim, Josh & Melissa,

    I had not seen the blog since early Friday night and just received a phonecall telling me of Lisa's passing. I am so sorry for you all. I know how much you were hoping and praying she would get through this. I myself was so sure this was just one more test for her to pass that my last blog was more of an update for Lisa on what I've been doing rather than talking about her.
    Lisa was such a special person and meant the world to me. I think I dubbed her my "West Coast Mom" (or maybe she came up with the name) right after meeting her in 1991 when she was assigned to be my mentor teacher my first year at Cubberley. She taught me so much! I can still remember working side by side with her in my second grade classroom. She was famous for the color coding and made everything she did look so easy! It is without doubt that she made me the teacher I am today. I will certainly miss her and will cherish the times we shared.
    Lisa was so proud of all of you and never had anything but good things to say about you all. Jim, she said you were the greatest, and Josh & Melissa, she was so proud to be your mom and thought the world of you guys! I hope that you take comfort in all of the wonderful memories & good times you shared together!
    I would like to thank you for the daily updates on Lisa's progress. I know that wasn't always easy for you guys, especially when you had to report on the latest obstacle or procedure, but it was so good for all of us on Team Lisa to know how she was doing and what she was going through. I thank you for keeping us informed. You are all in our thoughts & prayers at this very sad time. We love you guys!

    Kathy, Joe, Kendall, Kevin & Collin McCormick

  24. Dear Stephenson Family,
    I was walking with my husband along the beach in Cabo San Lucas early Saturday morning when I received a phone call from Nurse Judy telling me of Lisa's passing. The waves were crashing as my heart was as well. The sea was ever so beautiful, just like Lisa. That moment is one I'll never forget as I knew she is now at peace and can no longer be hurt by cancer.

    Sadly, I can say I deeply feel your loss as my own Mom passed away this past July from cancer.

    Lisa has left a beautiful legacy. Your strength to write each day and to face the unknowing challenges, day to day and minute to minute, have been remarkable. Thank you for always keeping us posted on our beloved friend, teacher, companion, mentor and principal. I met Lisa over 15 years ago working on a project with her. I knew then, she had touched my life in a very special way, and then to cross paths with her as my principal at Carver.. well I was blessed.
    Knowing Lisa has enriched my life in so many ways, for which I am ever blessed.
    Thank you ... for sharing her with us!

    It is my hope,and prayers that you find strength and comfort in your memories. When you have time.. listen to andrea bocelli (The Prayer) and Alan Jackson(Sissy's Song) in which he sings..
    She flew up to Heaven on the wings angels
    By the clouds and stars and passed where no one sees
    And she walks with Jesus and her loved ones
    And I know she's smiling saying
    Don't worry 'bout me.

    She's with our Heavenly Father.. and in peace.
    You are all in my prayers...
    Nancy Hoyt

  25. Dear Jim, Melissa and Josh,

    I'm am more sorry than words can say for the pain your are feeling. Your mom was one of the most amazing people I've ever had the honor of knowing.

    When I first met Lisa, it was at the new teacher's week long training. I was so eager and scared at the same time. Lisa gave me such inspiration and took her time to talk to me and listen; as she always did with everyone she met. She ended up being my principal at McKinely. She was never to busy to sit down and listen to any and all who needed her.

    I'll never forget the day she told me about her cancer. We were in her office, and I told her, "Don't leave any could of would of should ofs Lisa"... She looked at me and said, "Jim and I have had such a good ride- I wouldn't change a thing." I'll never forget that moment. She was so fullfilled. She was so happy and honored to have such a wonderful family. She talked about all of you so much!

    Lisa has touched so many lives and helped and inspired so many of us! Although I know you are feeling horrible pain, please know that there are so many of us that hold you in our thoughts and prayers. Melissa, Brandon wanted me to tell the other "Miss Stephenson" hi and how sorry he is to hear about your mom. He wanted me to tell you he misses you.

    Lisa will be missed, but she will live on in all the lives she touched. She will always be thought of with fond memories. Take care, and thank you all so much for keeping this blog.
    Karrie and the Lourenco Family

  26. Dear Jim, Melissa and Josh,

    I was a teacher at McKinley Elementary School years ago and under Lisa's guidance. She was my principal, fearless leader and friend. She helped me along my path towards becoming a school psychologist in LAUSD. She wrote a wonderful recommendation letter which to this day, I still have. All I can say is that my thoughts and prayers are with your family through this time. May the Lord continue to guide you and provide comfort to your family.

    To Lisa's daughter - I still remember the picture that she kept on her desk at McKinley of both you (as a young child) and Lisa. She told me that she taught you traditional folklore (I think it was Scottish) dancing and how much she enjoyed it. I remember the smile on her face as she talked about her family. I am grateful to have these memories and thank you for sharing with all of us her wonderful life. Lisa was an inspirational woman and was so proud of the Stephenson clan. She will be missed by all of us.