Lincoln Boyd Stevens

October 14, 1950 ‒ September 26, 2020

Mount Vernon, Ohio

Lincoln Boyd Stevens, 69, of Mount Vernon passed away on Saturday morning, September 26, 2020 at The Ohio State University Wexner Medical Center after a recent diagnosis of cancer.

He was born on October 14, 1950 in Pittsburg, Kansas, to the late Dr. Morris L. and Grace (Toland) Stevens. They were an influential part of Lincoln’s spiritual formation and intellectual pursuits, guiding him toward what is good, true, and beautiful.

 Lincoln attended Asbury College in Wilmore, Kentucky, where he studied philosophy from 1968-1972.  It was during the Asbury Revival of 1970 that he experienced the Lord in a deeper way, which shaped his relationships, his vocation, and his worldview for the rest of his life.

At the center of Lincoln’s life was his family.  At Asbury, he met Betsy and started a relationship that developed, through letter-writing, into engagement and then marriage on August 24, 1974. He always claimed that Betsy made him a better man, husband, and father. They built a life and a family together. He loved and enjoyed being with his children and grandchildren; he always took an interest in their passions and looked for ways to learn and grow right alongside them.  He very naturally filled their home with conversation and laughter that could be heard around the dinner table and in the living room. So often, he and Betsy showed hospitality by opening their home to hundreds of friends, students, visitors from other countries, and sometimes complete strangers.  They also faithfully contributed to the life of Lakeholm Church of the Nazarene where Lincoln taught a Sunday school class for many years and where so many have become like family.

Lincoln found his calling in the area of philosophy.  After college, he moved to Scotland to work on a Master’s in philosophy at the University of Edinburgh where he discovered the Scottish Common Sense philosophers and their particular influence on American thought and higher education.  His time there had a profound influence on the direction of his own intellectual interests and teaching.  He went on to earn a PhD from The Ohio State University.  He eventually came to Mt. Vernon in 1977 to teach philosophy at Mount Vernon Nazarene College.  In the classroom, he had the unique ability to engage all kinds of students with his sometimes shocking and silly antics.  His desire was always the pursuit of truth, challenging his students to think critically and Christianly about their world in order to live better lives. He was not only a teacher but also a mentor and a friend.  His legacy lives on in the thousands of students he had during his 43 years there.

He is survived by his wife, Elizabeth “Betsy” (Jarvis) Stevens; children, Sarah (David) Lehman and their daughter Lola of Charlottesville, VA, Adam Stevens and his children Micah, Jonah, and Lydia of Boardman, OH, Peter Stevens of Mt. Vernon, OH, and Katherine (Ben) Radcliffe and their children Simeon, Matthias, Tabea, Naomi, and Luka of Kudjip, Papua New Guinea; siblings, John (Jan) Stevens of Windsor, CT, Rozelle (Steve) Rumford of Macon, GA, Mary (Barney) Cochran of Mt. Vernon, OH, Delano (Kristen) Stevens of Franklin, TN, and Jane (Dan) Andrus of Centennial, CO; and many beloved nieces and nephews.

A private celebration of life service for family will be held at the Kokosing Nature Preserve on Friday, October 2, 2020.  The family will receive friends at his gravesite on Saturday, October 3, 2020 from 10-noon in the lawn area of the Kokosing Nature Preserve, 10620 Quarry Chapel Rd., Gambier.

In lieu of flowers, a gift can be given to the Greatest Need Fund for Kudjip Nazarene Hospital in Papua New Guinea.  A check can be made out to Lakeholm Church of the Nazarene (memo line: Lincoln Stevens).  To give online, visit where a link for the Lincoln Stevens Memorial Fund can be found.

To share a memory or send an expression of sympathy to the family visit

The Dowds-Snyder Funeral Home is honored to serve the family of Lincoln Boyd Stevens.

  • Dear Sweet, Betsy,

    You and Lincoln have been in my thoughts and heart daily, these last weeks. Perhaps you have felt the presence of an entire tribe of friends and classmates who love and care for you and Precious Lincoln. I, for one, feel so very fortunate to have known Lincoln through you, my dear friend.
    Lora Lea

  • Lincoln,you blessed our lives by your very existence. Your laughter brought healing to our bones. We miss you and love you and so thankful to Jesus that we will have eternity with you. Betsy,we are praising God that you have such a wonderful family and friends to support you during this time. We lift your family before the throne of God and thank them for loving our friend so well. In His love, Greg and Sarah Wilson

  • Stevens family,
    Sorry for your loss. Lincoln is greatly missed in The School of Christian Ministry office!

  • Lincoln, you lived a rich and wonderful life and deserve maximum praise and reward.

    I enjoyed playing with you as our star center on Asbury’s first intercollegiate basketball team.
    Now you and Rocky can shoot some hoops in heaven.

    Prayers for Betsy and all your beautiful family!

  • Dear Betsy and your entire family,
    Lincoln’s impact on my life was more indirect than direct but I always looked up to him as a model of a Godly man. I saw him as a pillar of the church and a man that lived what he believed. My heart grieves with you as you go through these times. In all my losses I’ve always looked for God to work something special out of the situation that only He could do and He has never failed to do that. I hope you can see a similar kind of rainbow. Blessings!

  • In our hearts, minds and souls we are grieving and praying for you all.
    John and Tiffany Donnelly

  • Dear Betsy and your sweet family,

    I have 2 memories of Lincoln that come back to me from our time at Asbury. One was a story he told about selling Bibles one summer. He didn’t have a car so he hitchhiked to the communities he went to and when a car would drive past him, he would run after it smiling and waving as if they meant to stop. He didn’t say how many times it worked, but it was so typical of his positive outlook.

    The other was of a classroom situation where a girl had hurt her leg… I think she may have had a cast on. Lincoln found a chair and put it in front of her desk and propped her leg up on it. That sweet gesture also seemed typical of him.

    What a legacy he has left for your children and how many of those wonderful memories must fill your heart now as you say “good-bye.”

    You and your dear ones will certainly be in my prayers in the days ahead.

    Much love,

  • I was privileged to be a colleague of Lincoln’s at the NAZ for severaLadles. Even though we were in different departments I knew him as a man of faith, friendship, and goodwill. His goal in life, as well as to his students, was to clear the way to a better understanding of the Christian faith. He was a leader among faculty and students as well, very well appreciated and loved by many. His contribution to Mount Vernon Nazarene University will be felt for many years to come.He will be missed by all of us who knew him.

    May God‘s richest blessings and comfort be with Betsy and the family.

    Dave Liles

  • Dearest Bets and family, my love and prayers continue on your behalf. My heart hurts for each of you and yet I can rejoice that your dear love is out of pain and complete in his perfection as Christ promises. I, with you, look forward to our reunion in our eternal home, with no more tears, forever praising Him and learning new and glorious things with full hearts of joy and wonder. What an inheritance to look toward.

    Lincoln was certainly “a person like a tree planted by streams of water, which yields its fruit in season and whose leaf does not wither- whatever they do propers.” He can truly be called “ blessed” and we are blessed to know you both.

    Lovingly, Stephanie

  • My heart has held you & my prayers have carried you, Betsy & family, to the Mercy Seat throughout this unexpected journey. As indescribably hard as this has been for all of you, I “watched” a man of grace, Lincoln, live & die gracefully, peacefully & influentially. Even when he couldn’t speak, the witness of Jesus literally emanated from him. In the words of Thomas a Kempis, Lincoln imitated Christ in his living & in his dying.

    May the grace of God that is more than sufficient, continue to sustain you as it already has & every day to come.

  • Our lives were first impacted by Lincoln Stevens in 2010 when he gave his daughter, Sarah, to our son, David, in marriage. The times we have been able to spend with Lincoln (and with Betsy) have enriched our lives–with his kind spirit, loving heart, servant heart, and life-enriching knowledge in his field of philosophy. Our hearts grieve with this precious family.

  • Betsy,
    You and your family have been in my heart as i have prayed for you over the weeks and followed your adventures in Papua. How I wish the years had given us opportunities to know each other better. Who knows what the future may hold?
    Though we are miles apart still I hold you in my heart.
    Linc will live on in the hearts of all who love him.
    Peace and grace,
    Linda Carruth Davis

  • My sympathy to the family of Dr. Lincoln Stevens, a good Christian teacher of Philoso phy who really made me think in class. Thanks for the memories. May God comfort you during this loss. He is now in Heaven talking over philosophy with His Heavenly Father.

  • Katherine, Ben, and family, we are so sorry. May God comfort your hearts today and in difficult days ahead. Our prayers are with you.

  • My prayers go out to the Stevens family. I had Dr. Stevens for a philosophy class. It was one of the greatest classes I ever took. He had profound affect on life because he made you think outside the box of the essence of life and the universe. Dr. Stevens is a great man. He is now part of the eternal universe and will be missed but never forgotten. My heart goes out to the family.

  • May the Spirit of Jesus give comfort during this time of temporary loss. May we listen for the trumpet .

  • Lincoln was an outstanding person. I enjoyed working with him. He was always a true gentleman and when he spoke people listened. The life of anyone who knew Lincoln was enriched by knowing him.

    We are so sorry for your loss. We will continue to pray for all of you.

  • I only knew Lincoln and Betsy for a short time through Lakeholm Nazarene Church- but they were both kind to me as a new Church Friend.
    One Sunday I lost my balance while exiting my church 💺; I was very embarrassed but as He helped me up He told me not to worry and that GOD loved me still. A small token to many but it meant so much to ME. I will miss Him and Honor Him in my ❤. Betsy the world will always seem a little colder without HIM
    Much Christian love to You and the Family
    Karen Kaye Nordyke

  • Lincoln was a big man with an even bigger heart. His smile could light up a room. He was a fierce competitor on the court . A gentle giant off the court. I’m thankful for his friendship and his love for the Lord. Lincoln’s life was a blessing to so many. I pray God’s continual strength for his family.

  • My memories of Lincoln go back to the 1960’s. Many of those summers, Morris and Grace would load the kids into the station wagon and travel north to Iowa. There they would spend a few days visiting Lincoln’s grandmother, and many aunts, uncles, and cousins. Sincere condolences to Betsy and family, and to my Kansas cousins.

  • Dear Miss Betsy & family,
    We consider it a blessing that Levi got to spend some time in Lincoln’s presence after completing a day’s work at MVNU. He was the epitome of a Christian man.
    We’ll be asking the Holy Spirit to give you all comfort in the days ahead.
    God bless you all.

  • I am so sorry for your loss. I have fond memories of Professor Stevens at MVNC. I only took one class with Professor Stevens (Senior Colloquium) but I enjoyed that class and his personality. I can’t watch the movie “Cool Hand Luke” without thinking of Professor Stevens. God Bless!

  • So sorry to hear of your loss. We were blessed to be at MVNU with your family while Paul was teaching there. Many wonderful memories of those years. We often referred to your family as “the tall family.” Lincoln was so well respected and loved as are all of you. He will be missed.

  • Lincoln was instrumental in my understanding of what being a Christian was after I got saved, as he was my first Sunday School teacher at Lakeholm 31 years ago. He challenged us and made us really think about our role in this world. Both Lincoln and Betsy have been good friends….opening their home to a scared young mother and new Christian when times got tough and we needed a safe place to stay, their children always being examples to my young children years ago and always being accepted. My heart breaks for you Betsy in losing your soulmate as well as for Sarah, Adam, Peter and Katherine in losing their beloved father. Yet, I am picturing Lincoln sitting in heaven with Jesus and some of the greatest men in the history of our world having deep, deep conversation and hashing out what it all meant. I love you all and you are in my prayers.

  • He was such a great man and a great professor. He mentored me at MVNU and really shaped my experience during college. He also taught my parents, he would mention often how happy he was to be teaching a second generation at MVNU, always apologizing at the end worrying that he had embarrassed me or another student in front of the class. I have so many great memories from my philosophy classes because of Dr. Stevens. He will be greatly missed.

  • I was one of his students at MVNC in late 70’s and I can truly say that Lincoln was one of the deepest thinking Christian scholars I have ever known. To me he was a Philosophy Professor, a mentor and a friend. I will always treasure the times in his class and the later times when I would just drop by his office on a campus visit and talk about philosophy or his experience as an Asbury College student during the great Asbury Revival. He will be missed by many – and all who were blessed to know him are far richer for it. MVNU Homecomings will never be the same. Rest in the peace of your Lord Lincoln as you go “further up and further in.”

  • Dear Betsy and family,
    May it be a source of inner strength
    to know that there is a loving God
    watching over you, and that He’ll stay close
    by your side during this time of need.
    My deepest condolences to you all,
    Susan Hayes

  • I am now in my 35 year as a professor of art at Houghton College where Lincoln’s mother graduated (I believe). At MVNC I double majored in Art and Philosophy. Lincoln shaped my education and the direction of my life in profound ways. He spent hours talking with me in his office, never hurrying me out- always treating me like a person of importance to him. I was a guest in the home on many occasions. Both my wife Nancy (Louk) and I share many stories of the great and generous mentoring we both received from Lincoln and Betsy. I ow him my profession, my books, my Faith and the life of the mind. Hail and farewell dear friend too soon taken from this world. I know you are right now enjoying that long looked forward to conversation with Asa Mahan. Ted Murphy, Mable Barnum Davidson Distinguished Professor if Fine Art, Houghton College.

  • Dear Betsy and family…

    So sorry to hear of Lincoln’s passing. I have wonderful memories of him when I took his philosophy class at then-MVNC, faculty weekends, and through myriad interactions on and off campus.

    I won’t forget his big, easy grin and devotion to his Christ.

    Much love,
    Val Riley

  • To all Lincoln’s family–may you find deep comfort in the richness of his life and his spiritual example. I remember with appreciation Lincoln’s legacy of love to the students of MVNU, the faculty and the staff. He carried us in his heart.

  • Lincoln had a great influence on my life. I minored in Philosophy while at MVNC (tells you how old I am) and took a comparative religions course. He would speak on Taoism one day and you thought to yourself; “why am I not a Taoist”? The next class, he would tell you what was wrong with Taoism and you would say; “that is why I am not a Taoist”! What a great teacher and Christian brother! He was also a great influence during the 1983 student Revival! I have pastored for 36 years since leaving MVNC and his teaching has helped me many times to stay focused on the task before me! Thank you Lincoln!

  • Betsy and family,
    Nancy and I express our deepest sympathy over Lincoln’s passing … Such a courageous man.
    While Coaching at MVNU really enjoyed our brief, and times lengthy, conversations about helping our baseball players struggling academically. His suggestions always hit the nail on the head.
    We have been so fortunate to have known Lincoln, and grow up with Betsy and family.
    Dick and Nancy Laslo

  • Lincoln and I grew up together, were basketball teammates and attended the Methodist church together with his family in Pittsburg, Kansas. We were both very involved with MYF. The above comments about Lincoln’s kindness reminded me of the time his mother Grace had a significant impact on my own mother spiritually when she witnessed her helping a foreign exchange student with some serious mental problems. We were close friends back then and went to the Fellowship of Christian Athletes summer camp, driving from Pittsburg to Colorado Springs by ourselves the summer of ‘67. Our high school team made the state tournament that year, and we got to play in Allen Fieldhouse at KU. We saw very little of each other after high school with him heading to Asbury and me eventually off to medical school. I do remember meeting Betsy one Christmas. The testimonies and well wishes above are no surprise to me as that is the same Lincoln I knew back then. I had planned to look him up in retirement but hadn’t gotten to it. We would have still had much in common, intellectually and in the faith. Oddly, here in the middle of the night I was moved to look him up and found that he passed. I have a profound sadness in not getting to see him again. I’m so proud to have been part of his life. God bless you and your family.