Ellis Word Owens

November 19, 1924June 30, 2013

Ellis Word Owens was born November 19th, 1924, in San Angelo, Texas. He was the only child of Clint and Stella Owens and he grew up on ranches in West Texas. Ellis graduated from high school in 1943 and went immediately into the Navy where he served in the Pacific on the destroyer, the USS Morris. The Morris was hit by a Japanese suicide plane during the battle of Okinawa. Many sailors died in the attack but the Morris was able to return to port in Hawaii.

At the end of the war he proposed to his childhood sweetheart, Vircille Rowe, on the banks of the Concho River in San Angelo. She accepted his proposal and they were married at the home of Jeff and Laura Owens on Liveoak Creek on June 22, 1945.

Ellis and Vircille later moved to Balmorhea and farmed for a while before buying the Santiago Peak Ranch just outside of the Big Bend National Park. They raised sheep and goats and four children while ranching this land, which is some of the roughest country in Texas. During the drought of the 50s Ellis was able to make his land payments by supplementing the ranch income through rough necking, operating a dozer and working as a powder man for the REA in the Big Bend Park.

During these years Ellis and Vircille made sure that their children were in church every Sunday, even though it was a 90 mile drive to Sanderson where they worshipped. They supplemented their children’s Christian education having nightly devotional times with singing and Bible reading. There were occasional pop questions on the passage that was read and all the children knew that they had better know the answers.

In 1968 Ellis moved his family to Pecos County where they continued to ranch in partnership with his father on the Canon Ranch. In 1971 they traded the Santiago Peak Ranch for the Circle Dot Ranch where they continued to ranch until retiring in 1992. Even after retiring he and Vircille continued to fight the bitterweed and hoarhound, working together.

He remained a faithful member of the church of Christ until his death.

He was preceded in death by a son, Dr. Robert Ellis Owens and is survived by his wife of 68 years, Vircille, and their children Judy Brown and her husband, David; Clint Owens, and his wife, Starr; and JoEllis McCall, and her husband, Rick. Ellis is also survived by his daughter-in-law, Kathy Evans, and her husband, Dale, 13 grandchildren, 18 great grandchildren, and one great great grandchild on the way.

The family wishes to thank all of those who were so kind and helpful through the past few years.


  • Visitation Monday, July 1, 2013
  • Funeral Service Tuesday, July 2, 2013

Ellis Word Owens

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Wayne Holmes

July 5, 2013

Our sympathy Vercille-Ellis' close friendhip with Harold endeared him and you to the rest of us. Love from Ione, Wayne, and Denzel families

Michael Langohr

July 5, 2013

Hello Vercille:

Though I have not seen you in years, I want you to know how much I appreciated you and Ellis' friendship during my years in Iraan. I offer my sympathy in this loss of a great man to you and the family.

God bless you,

Michael Langohr

Kathy Horner

July 4, 2013

Vercille - you and Ellis were always role models for me and I have often thought of your Christian examples of love and honor for each other and your faithfulness to God's word throughout my life. Some of the fondest memories I have of growing up was spending time with your family and Stella and Clint. Your servant spirit will continue to be the shining light that encourages others. May the spirit of God's comfort and strength be with you always. Love you - Kathy (Annett) Horner

July 4, 2013

To the Owens Family. My deep sympathy to all of you during this time. My prayers for you as you continue this journey of grief. My God's rich blessings continue to be on you and your families.
Love, Carol Horton

Holiday Bailey

July 3, 2013

Vircille, my thoughts and prayers are with you. My sincere condolences.

July 3, 2013

We offer our condolences to the Owens family. May our Lord be your strength and comfort. Banky & Weezie Stocks

Wayne Holmes

July 3, 2013

Our sympathy Vercille. Ellis' friendhip with Harold endeared him to all of us.Love from Wayne, Denzel, Ione and families

Steve Holtz

July 2, 2013

What a blessing for us to know and love Ellis.may God bless you and your family as you adjust to life without this wonderful Christian man.

Russell and Jackie Stocks

July 2, 2013

But may the God of all grace, who called us to His eternal glory by Christ Jesus, after you have suffered a while, perfect, establish, strengthen, and settle you. To Him be the glory and the dominion forever and ever. Amen 1 Peter 5:10-11.
May you find strength and peace in our Lord Jesus Christ in the coming days as you journey through this difficult time in your life. God Bless your family!