Dr. Milum Oswell (“M.O.”) Owens, Jr. passed away on May 21, 2019 at his home in Covenant Village, Gastonia, N.C. He was 105 years old. He was born on September 4th, 1913, in New Holland, Aiken County, S.C. He was the son of the late Milum O. Owens, Sr., and Jesse Hammett Owens. Dr. Owens graduated from Taylors High School in Taylors, S.C. where he was Salutatorian of his class. He then attended Furman University where he was on the swim team and track team and helped form the Furman Glee Club where he served as baritone soloist and manager. After graduation with honors from Furman, he worked as teacher and Principal at Barwick High School in Barwick, Ga. He entered Southern Seminary in Louisville, Ky in 1935 and graduated with honors and an MTh degree in 1938.
Dr. Owens served the following pastorates before coming to Gastonia: Myrtle Beach, S.C.; Palmetto, FL; Marion, N.C.; and Lenoir, N.C. From Lenoir he was called to East Baptist Church in Gastonia. While serving there, land was purchased to relocate the church but it was later decided to plant a new church which became Parkwood Baptist Church, Gastonia. As that church grew, Dr Owens was called there and served there as Pastor until his retirement in 1980. For 30 years after retirement he served as interim pastor in 15 different churches. During his ministry he was instrumental in forming 7 new churches in N.C.
Dr. Owens was always active in community affairs, as well as in his church organizations. He served on the Board of Trustees at Gardner-Webb College for 14 years, and was Chairman of the Board for several of those years. He founded Gaston Christian School, Gastonia in 1978. He also helped in the forming of the Crisis Pregnancy Center. The Milum Oswell Owens Chair of New Testament Studies was endowed in his honor at Southeastern Seminary in Wake Forest, N.C. He was a member of the Kiwanis Club in Marion, N.C. and frequently performed as a soloist in various charity shows. He was a member of the Rotary Club in Lenoir, of the Lions Club in Gastonia, then joined the Rotary Club in Gastonia and was proud to be a Paul Harris Fellow. A great believer in travel, he traveled in all 50 states,and in 40 different countries on all 7 continents. Dr. Owens had many interests and hobbies. He was an avid reader and gardener. He excelled in growing roses. He loved golf, and played as often as his schedule allowed. He collected stamps and coins, built at least 20 dollhouses, and always supported the arts, especially music programs. He was a prolific author, publishing three books and a quarterly publication entitled “the Watchman.” He enjoyed many sports, particularly baseball and basketball. He was for years a loyal fan of the Dodgers, and ultimately became an ardent fan of the Braves.
Dr. Owens is survived by three loving daughters, Celia Alexander (Erwin) of Suffolk, VA, Linda Russ (Eldon) of Greenville, S.C., and Mary Lancaster (Glenn) of Vass,N.C.; foster daughter, Deborah Ko (Chi Sown) of Girard, Ohio; 8 grandchildren; 2 foster grandchildren; 13 great-grandchildren; 3 foster great-grandchildren; five step-children, and many step-grandchildren. He was predeceased by three wives, Ruby Bridges Owens, Ola Carothers Owens, and Margaret Williford Brown Owens. Dr. Owens was God’s servant his whole life. He was loved and respected by all who knew him. He will be sorely missed.
Funeral services will be held at 11:00 am on Tuesday, May 28, 2019 at Parkwood Baptist Church, Gastonia, N.C. Burial will follow at 3:30 pm at Woodlawn Memorial Park, 1 Pine Knoll Dr., Greenville, S.C. The family will receive friends from 2:00 until 4:00 pm on Thursday, May 23, 2019 at Covenant Village, Gastonia and again on Monday, May 27, 2019 from 6:00 until 8:00 pm at The M.O. Owens Center at Gaston Christian School, Gastonia. In lieu of flowers, memorial gifts may be made to Gaston Christian School, 1625 Lowell Bethesda Rd., Gastonia, N.C. 28056 to Southeastern Seminary, M. O. Owens Chair, 222 North Wingate St., Wake Forest, N.C. 27587, to the Owens MIssion Fund, Parkwood Baptist Church, 1729 Garrison Blvd., Gastonia, N.C. 28054, or to the Crisis Pregnancy Center, 700 Robinson Rd., Gastonia,NC 28056.
The family wishes to express enormous gratitude and admiration for all the nursing staff at Covenant Village, and especially in the Woodlands, for their care for Dr. Owens. A special thank you goes to Peggie Hancock, who was his companion and caretaker for four years. She has been a great blessing to us all.
Condolence messages may be sent to the family by visiting www.woodlawnfuneral.org. Woodlawn Funeral Home of Mount Holly is serving the Owens family.
To send flowers to the family or plant a tree in memory of Dr. Milum Oswell (M.O.) Owens, please visit our floral store.
Crisis Pregnancy Center
700 Robinson Road, Gastonia NC 28056
Parkwood Baptist Church - Owens Mission Fund
1729 Garrison Blvd., Gastonia NC 28054
Southeastern Seminary - M.O. Owens Chair
222 N. Wingate St., Wake Forest NC 27587
Gaston Christian School
1625 Lowell Bethesda Road, Gastonia NC 28056