Church members shocked to hear of couple's tragic death

Bill and Peggy Stephenson (Source: Union Baptist Church)
Bill and Peggy Stephenson (Source: Union Baptist Church)

Family friends are speaking out about the shocking death of an elderly couple in Union.

Bill and Peggy Stephenson, both 74, were found dead on Sunday.

"It's hard for me to believe that this has happened," longtime friend Mary Belle Noe shared. "It seems like a dream and it's all I think about, Peggy and Billy, that this has happened to them."

At 95 years old, Noe spent decades growing a friendship with Peggy Stephenson.

"Her family lived next door to me and her children played with my children," she said. "I considered Peggy as one of my very best friends."

After the couple did not show up for Sunday's service at Union Baptist Church, Noe had a feeling something was wrong.

"I knew it was questionable why he didn't show up at a certain place, at a certain time," Noe said. "And [Peggy], when she came to church she always sat beside me.

Now the community is left in shock after losing a couple that made such an impact.

"She's just always as sweet as she can be, they both are," church member Judy Hammitt  said. "They would just do anything for anyone."

"She, I thought, was a great organ player," Noe said with a smile.  "She was the kind I like, her way of making music was the kind I had grown up with and I liked to hear her play."

Peggy's Husband Bill, a deacon in the church, was known for his truck stop ministering off of Highway 75.

"My husband will be going to the truck stop and bill won't be there so, it's just hard," church friend Janet Barnett said.

"Anyone that's sick, anyone that needs anything, Bills was always right there," echoed Hammitt.

"He was jolly," Noe added. "He was always joking with you."

Now silence and shock have taken hold of the close church community.

"I want to cry and yet I can't cry," Noe said. "I'm upset, very upset over this."

"It just seems like a nightmare that you don't want to face," Barnett said. "You don't want to think about it. So I've been trying to keep busy so I don't have to think."

"It's hard to imagine," Hammitt said. "You feel like you're going to go to church next Sunday and see Bill and Peggy there."

Church members say an email was sent out Sunday informing them of the couple's passing, asking for prayers for the family.

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