Katherine Boyette Stephenson died August 18, 2019, eight days after her 89th birthday, in Baltimore, Md.

Known as Kay all her life, she was the third daughter of Katherine K. and Mosley G. Boyette of Carthage, N.C. She attended St. Mary’s School for her final year of high school and remained at the school for her first two years of college. She completed a degree in primary education at UNC-Chapel Hill and began a lifelong career of teaching.

She is responsible for teaching hundreds of first-graders in Moore and Halifax counties to read and was known for her patience and creative techniques, including the much-loved “bathtub reading room,” a claw-footed tub filled with pillows and books for children to explore. After leaving the classroom, Kay continued to share her gift by teaching adults to read with the Halifax County Literacy Council.

Her marriage to Swain H.N. Stephenson brought her to Halifax County where she resided for most of her life, first in Halifax and then Weldon. Together they had three children, whom she encouraged to pursue their individual talents.

Kay was an excellent cook and never hesitated at the complexity of a recipe. Whether it was a multi-layered caramel cake, turkey wrapped in a “drug-store fold” or her world-class pimento cheese, food was her expression of love and always met with much appreciation from her family.

In later years, she enjoyed traveling with her daughter, Katherine, and family friend, Debby Patterson Kanoy. The threesome explored the ruins of Athens, swam at The  Ritz in Paris and cheered at Wimbledon, among many other memorable adventures. For almost 30 years, they celebrated each’s birthday at Wild Dunes, S.C. in summer and The Greenbrier in winter.

Kay is survived by her daughters, Hunter Bretzius of New Bern; Katherine Stephenson of Baltimore; and Anne Buresh of Charlotte; grandchildren, Anne Patterson and Hunter Buresh, both of Charlotte. She was preceded in death by her beloved parents; her sisters, Nell Boyette Barnes and Helen Boyette Allen, and her brother, Mosley G. Boyette, Jr.

Entombment will be 1:30 PM Friday, August 23rd at the Cross Hill Cemetery in Carthage. The family will receive friends prior to the service at Fry & Prickett Funeral Home from 12:00 – 1:00 PM. A memorial service will be held in Weldon at a later date.

In lieu of flowers, the family suggests donations to the Alzheimer’s Association, Eastern N.C. Chapter.

An online guest book is available at PinesFunerals.com

Memories Timeline


  1. A Designers Choice was sent on August 22, 2019

    Dear Kitty and Family,
    Your Mother was a special person in your life and will never be replaced.
    With deepest sympathies from your ‘lab family’
    Jed, Hua, and Kris

  2. May you find comfort and peace in the many wonderful memories you have. Our deepest sympathy.
    Paula Barfield Burton
    Paul Barfield

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