Hazel Manning "Connie" Owen

September 23, 2020

CHARLOTTE – Just as God blessed Connie Owen, she blessed us.
Perhaps she brought you a hot meal with a smile that pierced the loneliness, for she volunteered with Friendship Trays for 27 years. Or your child learned to love God in her Sunday School class. Or her sympathy card – one of thousands she wrote – arrived in the nick of time. Or maybe you were lucky enough to have tasted a slice of her famous key lime pie, a sweet without equal. In all these ways and more, Connie Owen brought joy to the world. She passed away on September 23, 2020 after a period of declining health. She was 89, and while she was happiest at home, she was ready to go home to God.

Connie was born on Oct. 4, 1930, in Roanoke, Va., the third daughter of Claude and Delia Manning. She adored her parents and growing up in a happy home. She met a young fellow named Durward Owen in school. They were married on Oct. 17, 1952 and spent 68 wonderful years together. Durward liked to say of his wife that family members called her Doodle, the children and grandchildren called her Mimi, friends and acquaintances called her Miss Connie, and he addressed her as “Yes, ma’am.”

Durward liked to brag that Connie kept a perfect house. Opera and classical music touched her soul. If she ever complained about anything or met a person she didn’t care for, no one can recall. Above all, she thanked the Lord for everything, for as that hymn proclaims, “Praise God, for whom all blessings flow.”

Though she never shed her Virginia heritage, Connie and Durward put down deep roots in Charlotte. He worked as CEO of the Pi Kappa Phi fraternity, and she happily served as a mother away from home for many young college students. Her many notes of encouragement were one way she spread the light.

An ardent Methodist – she memorized the hymns in the hymnals – Connie belonged to Myers Park United Methodist Church, where she was active in the Ownbey Sunday School class and Martha Circle. She also taught children’s Sunday School at Mouzon United Methodist Church. Over the years, she served as a Cub Scout leader, read to children at Sedgefield Elementary School and volunteered at Charlotte Speech & Hearing Center. Among the other causes she worked for: Opera Guild of Charlotte, Charlotte Guild Debutante Club, Tri Delta Sorority and English-Speaking Union, which promotes understanding across cultural and language barriers.

Connie is survived by her husband, Durward, of Charlotte; three children – Melissa Luer and her husband, Bill of New Orleans, David Owen of Greenville, S.C., and Sarah Jackson and her husband, Bill of Charlotte; her sister, Lucille Upshaw and her husband, Charles, of Roanoke, Va.; and her sister-in-law, Joyce Manning, of Roanoke. She is also survived by eight grandchildren, five great-grandchildren, several nieces and nephews and their spouses. She adored each and every one and cherished the time they spent together at home or on vacation. Never one to miss out on the fun, Connie could snow ski and also drive the water-skiing boat.

A service to celebrate her life will be at a later date at Myers Park United Methodist Church. A private committal service will be held at the church columbarium.  A gift in her memory can be made to the donor’s choice.

The family is grateful for the care given by Drs. James Villier and John Alexander, and the kindness shown by everyone at Brightmore.

Arrangements are in the care of Kenneth Poe Funeral & Cremation Service, 1321 Berkeley Avenue, Charlotte, NC 28204. (704) 641-7606. You can share an online condolence at www.kennethpoeservices.com.

Share your memories & condolences


  • Scott Evans

    I've only just been made aware of Connie's passing. As so many of my colleagues I worked with at Pi Kappa Phi have so wonderfully stated, Connie was the unexpected bonus of working for Durward. For me I attribute whatever civilizing influence I ever received from anyone to Connie. I never wanted to be anything but admired by this wonderful lady, and made sure anything I did might possibly be looked upon favorably by her and loved her dearly for her kindness. My deepest condolences to Durward and the Owen family upon her passing. Her memory is, without a doubt, a blessing to them all.

  • COL (R) JL Kaplan Jr

    Thoughts and prayers go out to the family especially Durwood. Durwood in my youth at Wofford was a powerful and most positive influence.

  • Tony Biancarosa

    Truly sorry for your loss.

  • Steven Owen

    A lovely kind person; we will all miss.
    Love Steven

  • Carol King

    Dear Durward and family, my memories of Connie are underscored by her loving smile and compassionate way. Even though she was soft-spoken, I know she had a strong voice when it mattered. She was a woman of grace, both in demeanor and in attitude. She enhanced this world in ways known and unknown. I know she was the perfect foil for Durward's zippy personality and antics. I offer my deepest condolences and am blessed for having known her. She will not be forgotten.

    Blessings to you all for comfort and peace.

  • Mark Ludwig DL199

    My most sincere condolences to the Owen family. A few years ago I ran into Brother and Ms Owen at Costco! I was thrilled to see both of them! Instantly, the visit sent us down memory lane...some 35 years ago when I worked with Ms Owen at the national office on a special fundraising project. Her smile and charm just as warm and elegant as all those years ago. Again, my most sincere condolences

  • Ann Cricchi

    Connie was "one of the best." You loved her the minute you met her. She will be fondly remembered by all who knew her. She is now lighting up heaven with her presence.

  • Jeff Karl Calhoun

    My best wishes to the family and friends. May God bless you and let us celebrate such a light for all and pkp.

  • Jerry Ratchford

    I knew Connie at Brightmore and she sat next to me at Stretch and Flex class. I could tell that she was a special person. I felt that she was a soldier for GOD'S service.
    In the short time that I knew her, I believed that we were good friends. I will miss her. May she rest in peace. I hope that Durward stays with us so I can get to know him.
    Jerry and Rita Ratchford

  • Nancy Corley

    Such a fine, fine lady!!! The world was a better place because of Connie and I'm sure she'll be sorely missed by so many! My sincerest condolences to you, Durward, and your family. May God bless!!!

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