The Mid-Shore Community Foundation was established in 1992 with a $236,000 bequest from Colonel and Mrs. Edgar Linthicum to the United Fund of Talbot County. Over the next 25 years it has become one of the most significant foundations, public or private, in the state of Maryland, with over $70 million in assets. That figure is expanding further thanks to the generous planned gifts recently received from the estates of Commander Charles and Dr. Roberta Stephens for a memorial fund in their names. With nearly $9 million in assets, the Charles and Roberta Stephens Memorial Fund will be one of the largest funds at MSCF. It will be used to benefit Trinity Evangelical Lutheran Church in Joppa, MD, Sandhills College Foundation, in Pinehurst, NC, and the Old Wye Church of Wye Mills, Maryland. In addition, the Talbot Hospice Foundation Fund at MSCF received $68,000 from a Stephens charitable gift annuity.
Commander Stephens was born in Joppa, MD, and after high school worked as a tree trimmer before enlisting in the Navy in 1942. He served tours with Bombing Squadron-153 (VB-153), flying the Curtis Helldiver, and with Attack Squadron (VA-25), flying the Douglas AD-Skyraider. He served tours in the Mediterranean aboard the U.S. Midway, in Port Lyautey, Morocco, with Air Transport Squadron-24, and aboard the U.S.S. Cabot (CVL-) at Pensacola, FL. He also served tours with the Operations Department of the Naval Air Station at Patuxent River, MD.
In 1948, he married Dr. Roberta Hall who was born in Freemansburg, WV, graduated from West Virginia University and earned her medical degree from the Medical College of Virginia. After practicing medicine for some years and moving around the world because of her husband’s naval career, she received a Master of Public Health degree from Johns Hopkins. She and Charles moved to Centreville in 1966, and she worked as the County Health Officer in Queen Anne’s and Caroline Counties. Shortly after her retirement in 1981, they moved to Pinehurst, NC, but moved to Londonderry Retirement Community, in Easton, in 2002.
Commander Stephens was very active in volunteer work. He served as chairman of the Board for Londonderry, Junior Warden at Old Wye Episcopal Church, chairman of the Queen Anne’s County Parks and Recreation Department, secretary of the Centreville Rotary, and treasurer of the Queen Anne’s County Red Cross. He was also a member of the Queen Anne’s County Fair Board, the Library Board, and Queen Anne’s County 4-H.
The couple was married for 65 years and, before Roberta’s death, in 2013, she and Charles made plans for the memorial fund. Charles died earlier this year and it was then that the magnitude of their gift was revealed. “They were generous supporters and friends of the Mid-Shore Community Foundation and of every community in which they lived, as reflected in their legacy gifts,” said Buck Duncan, MSCF President. “The Charles and Roberta Stephens Memorial Fund will serve as a perpetual reminder of their commitment to community and we are honored to be the stewards of their legacy.”