Roland Russell Stephens
Roland Russell Stephens.jpg
Born(1930-01-24)January 24, 1930 January 24, 1930, in
Elmhurst, Illinois
DiedApril 14, 2021(2021-04-14) (aged 91)
Springfield, Ohio.
  • Medical Doctor
  • Missionary
Spouse(s)Kathleen Harriet Hoff
ChildrenDaniel Stephens, Mark, Brian and Joel.
Parent(s)Russell William Stephens (Father)
Mary G. Thompson (Mother)

Dr Roland Russell Stephens was an American medical missionary who worked hard to bring Karanda Mission Hospital to where it is today. He died aged 91 on 14 April 2021.


Dr Stephens moved to Ohio to be near his grandchildren, having lived for most of his working life in Berrien Springs and at Karanda Mission Hospital in Zimbabwe.[1]


Roland Stephens was born on January 24, 1930, in Elmhurst, Illinois to Mary G. (Thompson) and Russell William Stephens. At the age of 4, he moved to a farm near Lakeview, Michigan.[1]


Kathleen Harriet Hoff. Dr Stephens married Kathleen Harriet Hoff on June 8, 1951.[1]


Four sons; Mark, Daniel, Brian and Joel.[1]


He graduated from Lakeview High School in 1947. In 1957, Stephens graduated from Bob Jones University. He graduated from the University of Illinois with a master’s degree in 1952, and from the University of Michigan Medical School in 1956.[1]


Roland entered a surgical residency at Erlanger Hospital in Chattanooga, Tennesse after an internship in Lansing, Michigan. After finishing his residency he joined a medical group at Berrien General Hospital, a group that was soon to become the Southwestern Medical Clinic. He went on to become a Fellow of the American College of Surgeons.

In 1962, the Stephens family left for Southern Rhodesia now Zimbabwe, where Roland was a medical missionary at the Gunderson-Horness Mission Hospital, now Karanda Mission Hospital, until 1978.

Roland Stephen’s family returned to the USA and he continued to work with the Southwestern Medical Clinic while the liberation struggle continued on in Rhodesia. When he retired from SWMC in 1995 he returned to Karanda Mission Hospital, joining his son Daniel, who was now a general surgeon and medical director of Karanda. During the interval between 1978-1995, he worked one year at Tenwek Hospital in Kenya and did other short term trips, including trips to Rwanda and Bangladesh. Roland and Kathy worked at Karanda Mission Hospital until 2013 when he entered final retirement at the age of 83.[1]

Honours and Awards

He was honoured for his medical and missionary work by the Ministry of Health and Child Welfare/Zimbabwean Government in 2013, by the Medical and Dental Society in 2014, receiving the David Stewart Memorial Reward for missionary service. The American College of Surgeons honoured him in 2018. Dr Stephens also received the Surgical Humanitarian of the Year reward.[1]


Roland Russell Stephens died on 14 April 2021 at home in Springfield, Ohio. The cause of death was undisclosed.[1]


  1. 1.0 1.1 1.2 1.3 1.4 1.5 1.6 1.7 Elsie Mojapelo, Medical missionary who built Karanda Mission Hospital dies, ZBC, Published: April 19, 2021, Retrieved: April 19, 2021