Hayden Cole Stephens

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Hayden Cole Stephens, age 23, passed away on Saturday, December 8, 2018, at Athens Limestone Hospital. Hayden was born on November 20, 1995 in Morgan County to Johnny Stephens and LeeAnn Whitt Stephens.
He was preceded in death by his grandparents, Roger and Billie Sue McGuire Whitt and Ernia and Wilma Stephens.
Hayden is survived by his father, Johnny Stephens; mother, LeeAnn Whitt Stephens; sisters, Whitney Stephens Moran (Jake) and Christen Stephens (Jason); brother, Landon Stephens (Jennifer); special uncle and aunt, Chris and Terry Whitt; special cousins, Cayla Whitt Morse (Isaac), Zach Whitt, and Blake Whitt (Rachel). Hayden had one special nephew, Jordan Moran. Hayden and Jordan loved each other like brothers. Their relationship with each other was very special. He is also survived by many other uncles, aunts, and cousins.
Services for Hayden will be at 3:00 p.m. on Saturday, December 15, 2018, at Central Church of Christ with Andy John King officiating. The family will receive friends from 12:00-2:15 p.m. prior to the service. Burial will be in Roselawn Cemetery.
Hayden graduated from Tanner High School in 2014. During his time in school, he excelled in academics and athletics. He always worked very hard to be the very best he could be in whatever he did. When his football team was state runner-up in 2011, Hayden told his family that he wanted to work hard and win the championship the next year for his brother, Landon, who was on the 2011 team. Hayden and the rest of the team worked very hard during the off-season and Tanner won their school's first state football championship in 2012. Tanner again won the state championship in 2013 during Hayden's senior year. Hayden was awarded Most Valuable Player of the game, which was one of his proudest accomplishments. Hayden loved running track and he worked very hard at running. Tanner's track team also won a state championship so he was again a part of another state championship team, which made us all very proud that his hard work had again paid off.
When Hayden graduated from high school, he began working hard at playing the guitar. He had taught himself to play the guitar at the age of 12, but it was actually a gift that he had been given. He was a natural at playing the guitar and it was magical listening to him play. Over the past few years, Hayden has won several guitar competitions and he has traveled around the south accompanying a young lady named Ashley Walls, from Marietta, Georgia. Hayden loved playing guitar before an audience; it gave him the most joy we have ever seen! He and Ashley were the opening act for Billy Ray Cyrus last August and it was one of the highlights of Hayden's life. He recently won the guitar finger picking contest at the Fiddler's Convention in October 2018. His family and friends were very proud of this accomplishment and so was Hayden. He was beaming with pride when his name was called as the winner. Hayden was scheduled to graduate in May 2019 with a degree in Music Industry. His goal was to play guitar with a band in a studio setting. He had such a bright and promising future in music.
Hayden was loved by so many people. He never met a stranger and he would start a conversation with strangers wherever he went. When he worked at a local restaurant a few years ago, he would sit down with customers that he did not even know and begin talking with them like he had known them all of his life. He had such a wonderful personality. Hayden also loved animals, but especially dogs. His family called him the "dog magnet". If he saw a dog anywhere he went, he would take off to pet the dog and talk to the owner about their dog. He especially loved Golden Doodles. He had always wanted to own a Golden Doodle someday. However, aside from playing guitar, Hayden's favorite thing to do was to vacation at Disney World with his family, especially with his Mother and his sister, Christen. He was so happy when he was at Disney. He and his Mother had actually become annual passholders two years ago because they loved going to Disney World so much. He would meet so many people there and he loved riding every ride and roller coaster he could find. His favorite thing of all at Disney was to visit the countries at Epcot. He especially loved to visit Norway at Epcot and he had plans to visit the country of Norway one day. He actually had many places in the world he had planned to visit in the future. He had so many hopes and aspirations for his life.
Hayden was loved by so many and he is going to be dearly missed. Our family's hearts are broken that he is not going to be with us every day. Our lives are never going to be the same without Hayden with us each day laughing and playing jokes on all of us, but we have so many wonderful memories of him and he will forever be in our hearts.
Hayden was a member of Central Church of Christ.
Pallbearers will be Landon Stephens, Zach Whitt, Blake Whitt, Jake Moran, Matthew Stephens, and Tyler Stephens.
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Published on December 14, 2018
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