Terence Ray Stephens

February 16, 1958 ~ July 5, 2023 (age 65) 65 Years Old

Terence Stephens Obituary

Terry R. Stephens

February 16, 1958 – July 5, 2023

Terry R. Stephens (Big Dog), of Watkinsville, Georgia departed this world on July 5, 2023. He was 65 years old.

Terry is survived by his wife of 43 years, Sue Stephens, and children Genevieve Stephens, Terry Jr. (Jessica) Stephens, and James Stephens. He was the proud papa to three grandchildren, Brody, Sam, and Allie Stephens. He is also survived by his mother, Barbara Stephens and three siblings, Robert (Ande) Stephens, Dan (Reiko) Stephens, and Mary Stephens, as well as eleven nieces and nephews.

Terry was preceded in death by his son, Benjamin Stephens, and his father, Ray Stephens.

Terry lived his life with an energy for new projects and opportunities as any true entrepreneur. He was the founder and owner of many well-known local businesses, including Big Dog’s Tire & Service, Big Dog’s on the River, The 284 event venue, and Stephens Limousine, now owned by his son, T.J. Stephens.

Known around Athens and Oconee as Big Dog, Terry had many talents and passions. A skilled photographer, Terry photographed University of Georgia home football games between the hedges for over 20 years. Terry also invested heavily in the Athens and Oconee communities where he spent his life. After founding Big Dog’s on the River, the area’s first kayaking and canoeing outpost, he became a river-advocate, volunteering his time with Rivers Alive and University of Georgia river cleanups. He served on the Upper Oconee Watershed Network (UOWN) committee to develop local “blue” or water trails, with the ambition of developing a blue trail from Hall to Greene County.

In addition to his entrepreneurial endeavors, Terry most enjoyed spending time with his family and friends, kicking field goals on the front lawn, and cheering on his alma mater (go Dawgs).

In lieu of flowers, contributions in Terry’s honor can be made to the Benjamin John Stephens Foundation, an organization founded by the Stephens family to help others Live Like Ben through art, soccer, and investment in the community.  

A ceremony for those who knew and loved Terry will be held at The Catholic Center at UGA on Saturday, July 15, 2023 at 10 AM. The service will also be live streamed:                                       


A Celebration of Life will be held at Big Dog’s on the River following the service from 11:30 AM to 2:00 PM.

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