A MESSAGE FROM THE FAMILY

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OBITUARY

Wilma L. Owens

May 15, 1927June 21, 2020
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Wilma Jane Lawson Owens was born May 15, 1927 at her parents’ house in Ensley, just five days before Charles Lindbergh’s solo flight across the Atlantic. She passed away Sunday night, June 21, 2020 at the age of 93. She was preceded in death by her husband of 53 years, Allen E. (Ed) Owens, as well as her parents, Harvell B Lawson, Ada Tice Lawson, and three brothers Harry, Harvell, and Carl Lawson. Her son Phillip (Leigh) and grandson Wesley Owens survive her.

Wilma graduated from Ensley High School in January 1945. She attended David Lipscomb College for a couple of years before returning to Birmingham to work as a secretary at US Steel. She married Ed Owens in 1949, and continued her work until 1960 when their son, Phillip was born. Wilma sacrificially gave herself to rearing her son, supporting and helping him in school, athletics, music, and most importantly, spiritual activities. She continued her love and support of him until her passing.

She was at home for several years after Phillip was born, then returned to work in a number of positions including secretary for the Highway Department, a stock brokerage company (Andreesen), an ENT doctor in Birmingham, Julian Hicks, another man in finances ,Frank Thomas, Jr., at UPS for a short time, then for Lloyd Wilson with New York Life. She retired from Mr. Wilson’s office as a secretary around 1992, but after a few months, returned for another stint until she turned 70 years old, retiring for good.

Always having a strong love for family, Wilma loved Phillip’s wife, Leigh, helped in every way she could, and was thrilled in 1989 to welcome her grandson, Wesley, into the world. From that moment on, much of what she did for the next few years was dedicated to creating fun and special times for him when he visited. She was also known for her generosity, helping her family and others in financial ways as the need arose.

Following the death of her beloved Ed in 2002, another chapter in life began. Wilma was encouraged to become a Pink Lady volunteer at Shelby Medical Center, and did so for 15-16 years, close to 90 years of age. She volunteered thousands of hours to the hospital, and enjoyed the interaction with patients, administration, and getting out of the house. It was good for her, and provided a needful service for many others.

Wilma was guided by her strong sense of faith in God and His word. She attended primarily three churches in her life: Ensley, Midfield, and Oak Mountain churches of Christ. She tried to live by principles of right and godliness and did not shrink to point out to those close to her where corrections needed to be made. Growing up, travel was often by streetcar or on foot. Wilma’s parents thought nothing of walking a mile to and from church services during her teen years to support a congregation (Fairview) begun by John T. Lewis in the Fair Park area. This is where and when she obeyed the gospel of Christ. Toward the end of her life, she contributed time and money to the efforts made by her son and others in building up the congregation in Shannon. Wilma continued to attend at Shannon until she was no longer able to drive the distance from her home.

Around the age of 90, due to diabetes and other issues, her health began to deteriorate, but she continued to drive, live at home, and for the most part take care of herself. Close to her 91 st birthday, she broke her hip and developed a severe intestinal problem, which required major surgery and round the clock professional help in a health care facility until her death Sunday night. We owe an unpayable debt of gratitude to all the workers at Brookdale who were part of her care. Even though she didn’t understand why she could not go back home, she loved them as family and recognized their efforts.

Wilma’s Celebration of Life will be held Thursday, June 25, 2020. Visitation will be from 12 noon until 2 p.m. with the funeral beginning at 2 at Elmwood Chapel. Burial in Elmwood Cemetery follows. Gene Waldon, Neil Gilbert and Bob Hutto will preside. There will be congregational singing. It would please Wilma very much for anyone who desires to make a contribution in her memory, to do so to the Pleasant Grove church of Christ, where her son, Phillip, now preaches.

Fond memories and expressions of sympathy may be shared at www.johnsridoutselmwoodchapel.com for the Owens family. Services will be livestreamed on Facebook at the link below. Please like the page to be notified.

https://www.facebook.com/RidoutsElmwood/

Services

  • Visitation

    Thursday, June 25, 2020

  • Funeral Service

    Thursday, June 25, 2020

  • Livestream

    Thursday, June 25, 2020

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Memories

Wilma L. Owens

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lee ann wallace

July 2, 2020

I was so sorry to hear about Wilma's passing. I hadnt talked to her in 2-3 years, I didnt know how to get in touch with her. I will miss calling her and keeping in touch. She always talked so highly of you and your wife, Phillip, and her grandson. And she always talked of missing her late husband. It was easy to see, she loved her family so much. She was a caring friend to me and especially to my mother (Jo Ann Wallace) and I loved her for that.
May wonderful memories of Wilma lighten your hearts at this time. My best to you all...

Lee Ann Wallace

Regina Haviland

June 29, 2020

Just seeing this, so sorry about Wilma. I connected with her while working at Shelby. Enjoyed times we spent together while I was there.
You were blessed with wonderful parents, cherish the memories.

Shirley Harrison

June 25, 2020

I have enjoyed my volunteer service with Wilma over the years. She was a wonderful friend, fellow officer, and she loved her work with our hospital. Wilma will be missed. LovIng Thoughts of her family are sent today. She loved you so much and talked about you often! Wilma was a special person, one of a kind and she is thought of with with love!
Shirley Harrison

Lynn Ellis

June 25, 2020

Dear Philip, Leigh, and Wesley,
We are saddened to hear of your loss. Sis. Owens was a dear friend to our mom (-in-law) for many years. Her kindness, generosity, and faithfulness will always be remembered. May the love, comfort, and peace that passes all understanding surround you this day and in the days ahead.
With sincere sympathy,
Tom and Lynn Ellis

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