David Lee Owen

OwenDavid Lee Owen, 73, on October 16, 2018, in Charlotte, N.C. David was born on June 7, 1945, at home in Gadsden, Ala., to Bessie Carter and Louie Lee Owen, and grew up in the Southern Baptist tradition in the midst of the reawakening civil rights turmoil of the 1960s. He graduated from the University of Alabama with a degree in chemistry and pursued graduate studies at Duke University. He married Andrea Merlileen Pearson, and they had three children. Working for a while in the business and insurance world, he enhanced his gifts in the sciences and newly emerging computer technologies. Moving to Charlotte, he taught for some time at Central Piedmont Community College and developed his own computer consulting business.

His youthful observations and experiences led to social awakenings and a mid-life connection to Charlotte (N.C.) Meeting. David and his long-time companion, Susanne Felton, joined the meeting in 1995, located at the time on Remount Road. David took an active role in the meeting soon after he and Susanne began attending. He was generous with his time and always willing to help, whatever the need—as shown by his helping to load a U-Haul and move an attender to the Midwest, and his rescuing and returning to Charlotte a Friend stranded outside Philadelphia when his truck had a final breakdown. His detail-oriented nature enriched his service on the Long Range Planning Committee, which was tasked with raising money for the new meetinghouse. He and his son Charles spent hours adapting architectural sketches into graphics for a fundraising brochure.

One friend said that David would go to the end of the world for those he cared for. “So long as he had a completely detailed road map,” added another. But Susanne said that it was she who insisted on road maps to counterbalance David’s expressed wanderlust and his habit of saying, “I’m not lost; I just don’t know where I am.” They celebrated their marriage in the manner of Friends in 2000 in the new meetinghouse on W. Rocky River Road. They devoted much time and energy together over the last decade in their online book-selling business. Tucked into every spare corner of their home were boxes and files of books, leaving barely enough room for the humans, not to mention (just as important) the cats. He and Susanne also enjoyed quilting and the textile arts.

His messages and shared memories of his own mother and grandmother handing down their life experiences to the next generations were funny and honest. He was a son of the south who never met a stranger and saw no great need to redefine his own cultural and family traditions or histories, claiming his identity from the land and people who nurtured him. Yet for some time the social justice and fairness spark that defined much of him found fair abode with that same spark that defines Quakerism. A sense of reunification was evident to friends and family in attendance at the memorial meeting in the meetinghouse that he and Susanne helped bring about.

David is survived by his wife, Susanne Felton; three children, Charles Moses Owen (Nancy), Evan David Owen (Christy), and Andrea Lee Corbin (Rendon); and eight grandchildren.

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