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In Memoriam: Brenda Stephenson | February 18, 1954 – January 14, 2023

In Memoriam: Brenda Stephenson

Brenda Hankins Stephenson passed away on January 14th, 2023, surrounded by her loved ones. She was born in Memphis, TN, to James and Vera Hankins on February 18th, 1954. She later moved to Knoxville to pursue her education at the University of Tennessee, Knoxville, where she graduated with a Master’s degree in Deaf Education.

Brenda dedicated her life to the education of Deaf children. She was a teacher and later principal at Tennessee School for the Deaf. She then continued her influence by becoming an instructor at UT in Deaf Education. She was known for having an open-door policy for anyone needing help, whether it be advising students, or those just seeking guidance in their lives.

She was the beloved wife of 17 years to her husband, Rodney Stephenson. She was the proud mother of two children, Jordan (Laura) and Rachel Simmons. She had the privilege of being a bonus mother to two daughters, Jennifer (Andrea) Ciccone and Megan (Brad) Douglas. She was the proud Granny of 7 grandchildren, Tyler, Carson, Parker, Emma, Reece, Liv, and Jake. Brenda will be deeply missed by her brother, Mike (Joyce) Hankins, sister Linda (Randy) Mynatt, many nieces and nephews, and dear friend Molly Jester.

In lieu of flowers, please consider making a donation to the Brenda Kay Hankins Memorial Scholarship Endowment. You can also mail a check payable to “UT Foundation, Inc” at 1525 University Avenue, Knoxville, TN 37921. Please note on any checks or payment that the gift is in memory of Brenda Kay Hankins.

A funeral service in memory of Brenda will be on Saturday, January 28th at Sequoyah Hills Presbyterian Church at 4:00pm. Receiving of friends will be from 2:00-4:00pm with the service directly to follow. Interpreting services will be provided. Online condolences may be made at