Marilyn Stephens Peyton, 92, was born in St. Augustine, Fla., in 1931 to Malcolm Leslie Stephens, Esq. and Helen Hindry Stephens. She was the younger sister of Malcolm Stephens (Barbara), Jr., Esq. who passed away in 2016. After graduating from the Grier School in Birmingham, Pa., Marilyn attended Florida State University where she earned her undergraduate degree. She later earned her Master’s Degree from University of Florida. She fulfilled her love of learning by inspiring her students as a professor at Santa Fe College in Gainesville, Fla., for more than three decades. She was a licensed mental health counselor, avid equestrian, tennis player, gold medalist in the Senior Olympics and sharp shooter. Her deep faith and spiritual journey began during her early years at Trinity Parish Episcopal Church in St. Augustine, where her grandfather, the Reverend Louis Fitz-James Hindry, was vicar for over 30 years. Later in life, Marilyn enjoyed worshiping at Christ Episcopal Church in Ponte Vedra and volunteering with the Stephen ministries while residing at Vicar’s Landing.
Marilyn’s son John was born in 1964. Following her brief marriage to Herbert Hill Peyton, she raised John on a horse farm in Gainesville. Through those years on the farm, mother and son forged a bond like no other. One of her most cherished memories was when she moved to Ponte Vedra to help John’s successful campaign to become mayor of Jacksonville in 2003. She made countless friends during the campaign and was John’s most enthusiastic supporter. Her love of family was foremost in her life. Her loving devotion to her son John, his wife Kathryn, and grandsons Connor and Kent was a source of great joy. She also leaves behind her nieces Susan Conway (Dave) and Lisa Stephens and nephew Steve Stephens (Audrey) and many dear friends.
Marilyn savored every moment in her fearless and adventuresome life. She loved people and had a way of making those she encountered feel seen and heard. In her practice as a mental health counselor, and in life, she believed that people at their core were good, and if they knew better, they would do better.
She will be greatly missed by all that were blessed to know and love her. The service celebrating her life will be private.
In lieu of flowers, the family request donations be made to The Community Foundation for Northeast Florida.
Check donations should be made payable to The Community Foundation with “Peyton Early Literacy Fund” noted in the memo line. Checks should be mailed to the following:
The Community Foundation for Northeast Florida
Attn: Peyton Early Literacy Fund
245 Riverside Ave, Suite 310
Jacksonville, FL 32202
Or can be made online at: