Following a two-month illness, Jean Owens, age 89, died on March 12, 2022 at Homestead at Towne Center, where she lived for a short time. Jean was born Joyce Jeanine Keirns on February 28, 1933 in Delphos, Ohio. From a young age, she preferred to be called Jean. She grew up in Jackson Michigan, but often visited and stayed with her cousin, Dolores Keysor, in Delphos. Jean married David William Owens from rural Van Wert County on November 28, 1949. Dave died in April, 2021. The couple lived for 33 years in the second home on the farm and then 33 years in the "home place" just down the road. They enjoyed their final years in a beautiful home near Middle Point.
Dave and Jean had four children: Dennis Owens (deceased), Mary Ann Owens Mathews of Baltimore, Maryland; Michael David (Diane) Owens of Middle Point; Terry Dean (Debbie) Owens of Ohio City; seven grandchildren: Ryanne (Steve) Bollenbacher of Van Wert; Matthew (Crista) Owens of Lima; Adam (Morgan) Owens of Venedocia; David (Beverly) Mathews of White Hall, Maryland; Jenny (Mike) Slattery of Vienna, Virginia; Mandy (Travis) Lamb of Franklin, Ohio; and Seth (Kylie) Owens who now live on the family homestead; three step-grandchildren: Curtis (Tanya) Ropp of San Anselmo, California; Tracey Ropp of Fisher, Indiana; and Ashley (Scott) Miller of Van Wert. "Grandma Jean" counted 27 children among her great-grandchildren, including foster care children and step great-grandchildren: Kendall and Luke Bollenbacher; Brezlyn, Elijah, Grant, Carter, and Gwyneth Owens; Madi and Mikey Lamb; Alyssa, Lauren, and Owen Mathews; Claire, Walker, Danielle, Whitney, and Simon Slattery; Aiden, Izayah, Jahzyah, and Jackson; Calvin Ropp; Zane, Camden, Neive, Cabot, and Bellamy Miller.
Jean was an active member of Salem Presbyterian Church for over 70 years. She served several terms on both the Session and the Music Committee. She was an active member of the Women's Association and taught Sunday school for over 40 years. Jean had a rewarding 46-year career with the Van Wert YWCA. In the early years, she planned programs for all ages and was a sponsor for Y-teens. For several years, she served as chairman of the Y's cuisine committee, serving meals to service clubs and other organizations. Most notable was Jean's initiative to begin a travel program for the Y. Hundreds of local people felt safe traveling with YW escorts to places in Ohio, to other states, and to countries around the world. Jean estimated that she went on at least 350 trips herself and planned hundreds more that were escorted by other women. Jean loved when people told her that their travel with the YW was among their favorite memories. Jean contributed to other organizations in Van Wert. She volunteered with the Van Wert Convention and Visitor's Bureau. She was an active member of the Woman's Club. She was a longtime member of the hospital TWIG 1 group, volunteering at the thrift store for a number of years. For international missions, Jean made 156 dresses and 23 skirts for an organization called Dresses for Africa. And she mailed around 270 knitted sweaters to World Vision for needy children around the world. Nurturing her spiritual growth was a priority for Jean. She felt deep compassion for people who are suffering, both close to home and around the world. Jean was a generous giver to Salem Church and a variety of charities. She was deeply committed to her extended family. Jean was an excellent cook and prepared countless meals to bring the family together and nurture close relationships. Celebrating milestones was a priority in her life, not only with celebrations for birthdays and Christmas, but also by sending cards for anniversaries and cards to each child for Valentine's Day, Easter, and Halloween. All of the children loved the annual Easter egg hunts hosted by Grandma Jean. Each member of the family and her many friends will miss her optimistic, energetic, fun loving spirit.
Viewing will be from 2 to 7 PM on Thursday, March 17th at Alspach-Gearhart Funeral Home, 722 S. Washington Street, Van Wert, OH.
Funeral service will be at 10:30 AM on Friday, March 18, 2022 at Salem Presbyterian Church in Venedocia where friends are welcome to visit with the family between 9:30 and 10:30.
In lieu of flowers, preferred memorials to Salem Presbyterian Church or the Van Wert YWCA are appreciated.
Honorary pall bearers will be Steve Bollenbacher; Matt, Adam, and Seth Owens; David Mathews; Travis Lamb; and Mike Slattery.
To share in Jean's online memorial, please visit www.alspachgearhart.com.
Arrangements have been entrusted to Alspach-Gearhart Funeral Home & Crematory, 722 S Washington Street, Van Wert, OH 45891.