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Dr. Stephenson makes cabinet for Hundley House at LWC

Handcrafted corner cabinet came from black walnut harvested from Stephenson's 104-year-old Crocus Creek, Cumberland County, KY, farm now occupies corner in President's home
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By Duane Bonifer
News from Lindsey Wilson College

COLUMBIA, KY - Dr. Julius Stephenson is a longtime supporter of scholarships at Lindsey Wilson College. But the retired dentist recently gave his alma mater one of his more tangible presents - a handcrafted corner cabinet for the Emily Hundley President's Home.

The 82-inch tall piece of furniture was made from a black walnut tree harvested from woods on Stephenson's 104-year-old family farm in Crocus Creek in Cumberland County.

"This absolutely stunning piece of furniture will be a signature piece of the president's home," said LWC President William T. Luckey Jr., who has lived in the home with his family since becoming the college's eighth president on July 1, 1998. "Dr. Stephenson has been one of the college's most loyal and generous alumni, and this piece of furniture will stand as a beautiful legacy to his love for this college and its students."

Stephenson said he decided to build to build the corner cabinet, which he said took about two years, after a visit from Luckey.

"He was admiring the furniture I had made in my shop, so I decided to make something for the president's home," Stephenson said.

Stephenson graduated from LWC in 1947, three years before the college's current president's home was built. His LWC education began in 1941, but it lasted for only a year because Stephenson entered the Army in spring 1942 for four years of service in the European Theater. Stephenson helped pay for his first year at the college by rising at 4 a.m. each day to milk cows kept on an LWC-owned farm that fed students, faculty and staff.

Stephenson returned to LWC after World War II and graduated in 1947 before eventually going to dental school and then enjoying a successful practice in Burkesville. Stephenson is a second-generation LWC alumnus; his father, the late Silas Arnold Stephenson, attended the school when it opened in 1904.

Stephenson has been a longtime supporter of the college, assisting students through annual donations to the Lindsey Wilson Fund and by establishing an endowed scholarship.

"I said then that if I ever have anything and some of my fellow Cumberland County residents needed help, I'd send them to Lindsey Wilson," Stephenson said.

Stephenson said has made furniture since he was "about 10 years old," but it's only been for the last 15 years that he's made furniture as a serious avocation. Before he retired from his dental practice, he couldn't risk injuring his fingers, which might have affected his dental practice.

"I had to make my living first and save my fingers for making furniture later," he said.

This story was posted on 2012-07-20 16:53:12
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Dr. Julius Stephenson, his corner cabinet and the Luckeys

2012-07-20 - Hundley House, Columbia, KY - Photo by Duane Bonifer. LWC photo.
Lindsey Wilson College alumnus Dr. Julius Stephenson, center, donated to the LWC Emily Hundley President's Home a corner cabinet he made from a black walnut tree harvested from his Cumberland County farm. Stephenson is joined by LWC First Lady Elise Luckey and LWC President William T. Luckey Jr. - Duane Bonifer

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