Obituary: Mary Owen


Mary Owen

September 14, 1942 – October 22, 2017

Mary Owen, 75, of Brawley, California went home to be with the Lord on Sunday, October 22, 2017 surrounded by her entire family. Mary was born on September 14, 1942 in Denver, Colorado to Esther Elizabeth Crane and Thomas McDermott.


Mary was devoted to her family and her community. She was raised primarily in Imperial County and graduated from Calipatria High School where she was active in a wide variety of student government activities. Mary refined her natural public speaking abilities at an early age and won many local speech contests. She continued her student government activities at Imperial Valley College and graduated from San Diego State University with a degree in Elementary Education. She taught at Oakley, Hidalgo and Barbara Worth Junior High Schools in Brawley before moving to Kennedy Junior High and Desert Gardens Elementary Schools in El Centro. 


Mary was an innovative educator. She developed and implemented the first skills based reading program in Imperial County, served as a Master Teacher, and created a self-esteem unit using 180 separate lessons.


She married Donnie Loyal Owen in 1961 and they had four children. Her faith and her family were the most important aspects of her life.  Mary was an active member of the First Presbyterian Church, Brawley where she served as an Elder, Sunday School Superintendent, and Youth Group Leader. She coordinated the Women’s Fellowship and  Service Group, Christmas Basket Project, and served on several Pastoral Nominating Committees. 


In addition to her church involvement, she was active in the Imperial County 4-H Program.  She served as the Community Leader of the Magnolia 4-H Club for several years and as a presenter at leadership conferences at UC Davis, UC Irvine and in Washington DC.  Mary was a Past President of the American Association of University Women and the first female President of the Brawley Union High School Athletic Boosters Association.
While Mary loved everyone around her, nothing brought her more joy than being actively involved in the lives of her seven grandchildren.  She was a passionate fan at their sporting events, a dedicated advocate when they needed help, and a wise counselor when they sought her advice. She was a loyal friend who was always willing to give of herself in order to help others. She believed it was important to be a contributing member of society and she worked tirelessly to improve her community.
Mary will be deeply missed by the many people she touched throughout her life including former students, colleagues, friends, and especially her family.
Mary’s final act of service was being an organ donor and giving another person a chance to live. A service of worship in celebration of her life will be held at 11:00 a.m. on November 10, 2017, at the First Presbyterian Church in Brawley.  


Mary is preceded in death by her husband, mother, father, and brother.
Mary is survived by her children Deborah (James Abatti), Deven (Kelly), Darin and Dustin (Karena) and her grandchildren Jordan, Cameron, and Madison Abatti, Dallas, Aspen, Kale, and Sydney Owen, as well as her sister, Betty Hansen (Eldon), sister-in-laws Carol Jackson (Tommy) Sylvia Shank, Ronnie Owen (Jeanette) and numerous nieces and nephews.   


The Mary Owen Memorial Scholarship Fund has been established through the Imperial Valley Community Foundation. Donations can be made at