Former MNU First Lady Adeline Owens Passes at 89
| by Carol Best firstname.lastname@example.org
Adeline Owens, age 89, of Olathe, Kansas, beloved former first lady of MidAmerica Nazarene University, went to be with her Lord September 26, 2019. She passed away peacefully surrounded by family. Mrs. Owens was a gracious, loving, supportive wife, mother, missionary, educator, first lady, and friend.
Adeline Owens has been described by her husband, Dr. Donald Owens, MNU president from 1985-89, as his inspiration and mission partner, having worked alongside him faithfully. The Owens’ were partners in ministry from the beginning of their 68-year marriage. The couple met at Bethany-Peniel College, now Southern Nazarene University, in 1947 where Adeline earned the Bachelor of Arts in Religion with a minor in English. They married in 1951. Their first pastorate was at the Church of the Nazarene in Fairbury, Nebraska.
The Owens’ became pioneer missionaries in 1954 establishing the Church of the Nazarene in Korea. Adeline worked alongside her husband, teaching at Korea Nazarene Theological College, now Korean Nazarene University, which he founded. They remained in Korea until 1965. The next stop on Adeline’s journey of service was Bethany Nazarene College (SNU), 1966-74, where Dr. Owens was professor of missiology. During their tenure in Bethany, Oklahoma, the Owens’ also founded Lake Overholser Church of the Nazarene.
In 1975 they moved to the Kansas City area where Dr. Owens taught at Nazarene Theological Seminary and Adeline taught fourth grade, until 1981. The couple then returned to missions, serving the Asia-Pacific Region of the Church of the Nazarene in Metro-Manila Philippines. During this time Adeline supported Dr. Owen’s work as founding president of Asia-Pacific Nazarene Theological Seminary in Manila.
In 1985, the Board of Trustees of MidAmerica Nazarene College, now university, elected Dr. Owens to be its second president. Adeline became the cherished first lady of our community.
MNU alumni describe Adeline as gracious and kind to students, a joy to be around, and always with a smile.
MNU President David Spittal expressed his appreciation for Adeline’s service to MNU.
“Adeline’s strong faith in Christ and commitment to prayer was vital during some challenging years in our history,” Spittal said. “Her influence and strength was evident throughout her life and MNU has been blessed by her legacy and testimony.”
In 1989, Dr. Owens was elected General Superintendent of the Church of the Nazarene and served until his retirement in 1997 when he was named General Superintendent Emeritus. Adeline continued her faithful support during his service though health concerns limited her ability to travel with him.
In 1997, both were honored by MNU with the Carry The Torch award, recognizing individuals who have given sacrificially to the university.
Adeline Owens is survived by her beloved husband and four cherished adult daughters, Donna Bean, Deborah Bohi (FS ’83), Darlene Conyers (’85) and Dorothy Owens (’88), sons-in-law and grandchildren.
We would do well to aspire to live the kind of life Adeline did. Our deepest sympathy to her family.
A Celebration of Life will be held Saturday, October 12 at 11 a.m. at College Church of the Nazarene, 2020 E. Sheridan, Olathe, KS.