The Rev. James Barry Owens was born March 9, 1932, the third of six children of Mitchell E. Owens and Ila “Peggy” Burns Owens in Brunswick. He was educated in the Glynn County School System and graduated in 1950 from Glynn Academy. He graduated from Brewton-Parker College as Valedictorian of the class of 1952 and from Georgia Teachers College (now Georgia Southern University). He received the Bachelor’s of Divinity Degree and Master’s of Divinity Degree from Southern Baptist Theological Seminary, the Master’s degree from Georgia Southwestern University, the Educational Specialist Degree from Valdosta University, and Certification in Gifted Education from Valdosta University. Mr. Owens was ordained Dec. 31, 1950, by Norwich Street Baptist Church in Brunswick where he was baptized at the age of seven.
Mr. Owens served as pastor of Stillmore Baptist Church in Emanuel County and Scarboro Baptist Church in Candler County, Middleground Baptist Church, Newington Baptist Church, and North Newington Baptist Church in Screven County. While a student in seminary in Kentucky he served as the Youth Director at a Baptist Church. Following seminary, Mr. Owens was employed by the Georgia Baptist Convention as the Baptist Student Union Director at North Georgia College (now University) and Young Harris College.
Then Mr. Owens served at First Baptist Church in Rincon; First Baptist Church in Hazlehurst; Fishing Creek Baptist Church in Telfair County; and First Alliance Church in Hazlehurst.
Mr. Owens also taught school: the sixth grade in Newington, the fourth grade and the gifted class in Hazlehurst, and the gifted class in Camden County.
Mr. Owens also taught Bible Classes at Brewton-Parker College in the Evening College for 38 years. He was a former president of the Hazlehurst Rotary Club as well as a member of the Golden Isles Shag Club.
Mr. Owens was preceded in death by his wife Sylvia, his daughter Lee Ila Owens, his grandsons Stephen Barry and Adam Spencer. He was also preceded by his parents Mitchell and Peggy Owens, and brothers Robert Eugene Owens and Thomas David Owens. He is survived by sons John (Debbie), Christopher (Bonnie), Mercer, and Patrick (Tish).
A celebration of life service was held Dec. 7 at First Alliance Church.
Active pallbearers were Stanley Land, Steve Land, Tommy Waters, Chris Campbell, Luke Owens and Bradley Moore
Interment followed in Hazlehurst Memorial Cemetery with the Rev. Gilbert Posey, the Rev. Bobby Gale and the Rev. Stewart Joiner officiating.
In lieu of flowers, the family requests that donations be made to Loganville Christian Academy c/o Stephen Owens Mission Fund, address: 2575 Highway 81, Loganville, GA 30052.
Wainright-Parlor Funeral Home was in charge.