Tehachapi's Online Community News & Entertainment Guide

Geraldine 'Jeri' Stephens June 16, 1947 – August 15, 2023

Celebration of Life

Geraldine Jacinta Mary McConville Stephens was born June 16, 1947 in Portadown, County Armagh in Northern Ireland. She was born to Rory and Gertie (Gilpin) McConville, and was the second born of 10 children. As the firstborn girl, she naturally became the "second mom" to her brothers, sisters and many in the same Irish community in which she grew up - as a natural caregiver, babysitter and a feisty irishwoman that wouldn't put up with any shenanigans.

Jeri's father Rory left Ireland to pursue the American dream when Jeri was a young girl. He soon brought over his wife Gertie to create a foundation for their family in America. Jeri along with four of her siblings stayed in Ireland with their grandmother. The game show "It Could Be You," heard their story and brought the kids over from Ireland in December of 1956 to reunite with their mom and dad. That was the day that Jeri's feet touched American soil and became her home away from her Ireland home.

Jeri grew up in Sun Valley, California and attended Our Lady of the Holy Rosary and John Francis Polytechnic High School. In her young adult life she married and had two sons, Tim and Robbie Grell. When the boys were young, she moved to Tehachapi and there she met the love of her life, Benjamin Stephens in 1984. Benny and Jeri married in 1985, adding Benny's daughter Tina to the family and then welcomed another son Noah Stephens. During their childhood, Jeri attended every sporting event they were involved in, never missing one.

While living in Tehachapi, Jeri enjoyed her career with Benz Sanitation as Office Manager for her dear friends Paul and Joan Benz. So many employees and co-workers became like family to her and all were subject to her mischievous ways.

Jeri enjoyed knitting, crocheting, watching "All My Children" and traveling all over Southern California to watch her nieces and nephews participate in their sports and Irish dancing. As her children grew and had their own families, she became the light-hearted Grandma, going to all of their events, taking them on beach trips and family fishing trips. The stories of Grandma's hilarious ways carry on in all of her grandchildren.

Jeri was preceded in death by her parents, Rory and Gertie McConville, her brother Dennis, her sister Debbie, her brother in law Doug and her son in law Jeff. She is survived by her loving husband Benny, her children Tina (Jeff), Tim (Cherese), Robbie (Christina) and Noah (Grace). She is also survived by her grandchildren Jacob, Josh and Maci, Paityn and Caiden, Tessa and Rian, Allan, Allie and Guy. She leaves behind her siblings Terry, Brian (Marianna), Cathy, Colin (Candi), Donal (Debra), Sheila (Michael) and Kevin (Sue) along with countless nieces, nephews and cousins she adored.

Please join us in celebrating her life on Saturday, Oct. 21 at 11 a.m. at St. Malachy Catholic Church, 407 W. E St., Tehachapi with a reception immediately following.

We will miss her smile, her orneriness, her crazy sense of humor and her way of finding laughter in every situation.