Remembering Betty Owens
Betty Jean (Cherry) Owens, 88, of Edmond, Oklahoma, passed away on 29 November 2022. She was a missionary who served in the Philippines from 1964 to 1982.
Betty was born on 10 December 1933 in Peabody, Kansas, to Louis Lee and Hazel Cherry. Her parents owned a grocery store, Cherry's Cut-Rite, in Peabody, where she spent most of her early years.
The family was moving to Abilene, Kansas, for her father to become a minister at the Church of the Nazarene when Betty’s father and her sister Irene were involved in a tragic accident. Betty and her mother, Hazel, completed their move to Abilene.
Betty graduated from Abilene High, where she returned to teach after college. An insatiable lifelong learner, Betty attended Bethany Peniel College (now Southern Nazarene University), earning a Bachelor of Science in education in 1955. She completed her Master of Arts in education in 1961 at Bethany Nazarene College/SNU and worked toward her doctorate in linguistics at the University of Kansas in 1979.
Betty was married to Denny Gene Owens in June of 1958 in Abilene, Kansas, and they had three children, Douglas, Ann, and Jane. The couple's first pastorate was at the Church of the Nazarene in Denton, Texas, followed by a second ministerial assignment in Grand Island, Nebraska.
The Owenses became missionaries in 1965 for the Church of the Nazarene, serving for over 11 years in the Republic of the Philippines. During Betty's time in the Philippines, she taught at Faith Academy, Manila, and the Visayan Nazarene Bible College in Cebu City, Cebu.
Other career highlights include joint ministerial assignments with Denny in California, Colorado, and Oklahoma and serving as a faculty member at the Nazarene Indian Bible College in Albuquerque, New Mexico. She was an ESL (English as a Second Language) teacher for the Department of Defense at U.S. Naval Base Subic Bay in Zambales, Philippines, and U.S. Kadena Air Force Base in Okinawa, Japan.
After retiring, she tutored ESL students and became an adjunct professor at Southern Nazarene University in the English Department. Betty enjoyed playing the piano and accordion, singing, and compiling family genealogy.
She was preceded in death in 2002 by her spouse of 43 years, Denny; her parents, Louis Lee Cherry and Hazel Cherry; three sisters, Margie Johnson, Irene Cherry, and Mary Rose Monroe; and her daughter, Jane Margaret (Owens) Labastida.
She is survived by her children, Douglas Owens and Elizabeth Ann (Owens) Bennington of Edmond, Oklahoma, five grandchildren, and six great-grandchildren.
A celebration of her life will be held on Saturday, 21 January, at 2 p.m. at the Mercer-Adams Chapel in Bethany, Oklahoma.