Sydney Elizabeth Owens

September 25, 1986January 14, 2012

Sydney Elizabeth Owens

Sydney Elizabeth Owens, age 25, of Charlotte, NC died in a skiing accident in Colorado on January 14, 2012. She was born on September 25, 1986 at Presbyterian Hospital in Charlotte.

Sydney is survived by Linda Barnett, her mother, Wilson Owens, her brother, Raymond Owens, her father and his wife, Sally Higgins, Ann Owens, her grandmother, and Lawson Hauptfuhrer, her beloved. Other survivors include her aunts and uncles, Anna Owens and Tom Cook, and their children, Abbie and Gus, and Robin and Dennis McNeill. Also surviving are Tim Kirkman and Drew Barr, and Suzanne, Mary Wheeler and Grace Moyer.

Predeceasing Sydney were her grandparents, Sydney (her namesake) and Gerry Barnett, and R. Eugene Owens.

Sydney grew up at Myers Park Baptist Church and her spiritual life was always important to her. She attended Charlotte Latin School and Myers Park High School. She attended the University of Virginia as an Echols Scholar. She was a member of Kappa Kappa Gamma sorority and sailed around the world in her third year through the Semester at Sea program. Sydney earned residency on The Lawn during her fourth year, the University’s highest leadership honor, and graduated with honors in 2009. Following graduation, she travelled to Tanzania to teach in an elementary school and explore many of the wonders of Africa. Sydney then moved to Denver, where she lived until her death. She worked first with Intela in Boulder and had recently taken a new job at DaVita in Denver. In Colorado she embraced the outdoors and all it had to offer.

Sydney, you started in red high-top sneakers and you ended on Kilimanjaro and the peaks of the Rocky Mountains. You started with not a tooth and your smile came to compete with the sunrise. You started in Charlotte and you ended a woman of the world and for the world. You started in a family of four and ended with thousands. What divides many in our community—the choice between public and private school; rich versus poor; white, black or brown; gay or straight—only made you richer. Time is now both our friend and enemy. Our enemy, because it is fixed with the many but ultimately finite memories of you. Our friend, because pain will heal in some and will ease in others. But Time cannot answer the question of “What now?” Your life is the answer. Your call to us has been and is clear. If our work has lost its meaning, we must rediscover the truth and creativity that comes in accomplishment. And also work for others. If we have not travelled into the unknown or if we have forgotten the joy of new experiences and relationships in other places, we must begin the hike and follow wherever the trail leads. And also travel with and for others. If we have for some reason not started the music or the dance, or if we have buried or lost them over time, we must listen anew, pick up the instrument or get out on the floor. And also sing and dance with and for others. If our love has been lost in the ways of the world or in despair, we must now rekindle it in the new journey. And also share our love with and for others—the child, the stranger, the immigrant, the outcast and the alone. Your call was then and is the same now: Choose life! A memorial service celebrating the life of Sydney Elizabeth Owens will be held at Myers Park Baptist Church at 11 a.m. on Saturday, January 21, 2012. Visitation will be private.

Memorials may be made to the UVA Fund, P.O. Box 400314, Charlottesville, VA, 22907 in memory of Sydney Elizabeth Owens for a scholarship in her name; or Semester at Sea, P.O. Box 400885, Charlottesville, VA, 22904, in memory of Sydney Elizabeth Owens.


  • Memorial Service Saturday, January 21, 2012

Sydney Elizabeth Owens

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Ms.Pratts Student

January 9, 2013

Sydney I don't know you but I heard your story in my leadership class. It brought tears to my eyes. You're a beautiful girl. You have made a difference. Rest in peace beautiful. Gone but never forgotten.

Charlene Poole

February 11, 2012

I just heard the terrible news today . Linda my heart goes out to you and your family. I have watched Sydney grow up and live such a full, happy yet short life. My heart is heavy and you will be in my prayers.

Charlene Poole

February 11, 2012

I just heard the terrible news today . Linda my heart goes out to you and your family. I have watched Sydney grow up and live such a full, happy yet short life. My heart is heavy and you will be in my prayers.

Barbara Johnston

February 7, 2012

I am so saddened for you in the loss of Sydney. I send my love, sympathy and care to all her family and loved ones.
May God comfort and bless you.

Don Hudson

February 5, 2012

Linda and Ray,

My heartfelt sympathy to you and your family. Ray, what a beautiful tribute you shared with the world in your words about your precious Sydney. It's obvious how much she gave you and everyone else's life she touched.

January 27, 2012

Ray, we are praying for you and your family during this difficult time. Your daughter Sydney enjoyed life to the fullest. What a great girl she turned out to be, what a great legacy! May God comfort each of you now and always, Barbara Green, Caroline & Ashley Benton

January 27, 2012

My most sincere condolences to all of you for your great loss. I am so distressed to hear of Sydney's passing. I pray for for some comfort for you and yours in this time of great loss. I am sad for you. I wish you strength and peace. All my love, Bess Forshaw

Damian Calvert

January 26, 2012

My condolences to your family, I am deeply saddened by the events that lead to Sydney's passing and am sorry we could not bring her back after her fall.
Best wishes for relief from the pain and loss you all must be feeling.

Sparky Kincaid Allen

January 25, 2012

I extend my deepest sympathy to you and your family for the loss of your beautiful Sydney. When in the high Sierra Nevada, I always feel the presence of loved ones who have gone before us. May you find some measure of comfort in the high hills that your daughter loved so much.

January 24, 2012

What an exceptional child, young woman, and a part of the legacy of the Owens and Barnett families. I felt like I knew her because I knew your father and mother so well, and felt I was part of them too. My heart is there with you, as well as my prayers in song, for healing and loving.
Jeanette Parke (Beck)