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DOROTHY OWEN--1928-2007

I lost my 79-year-old mom on Tuesday, December 11, after a short but severe illness. Because I've shared so many other aspects of my life with my friends in the Blogosphere, I wanted to share this very sad part of my life with you too, give you a few little details about my sweet Mom, and then let you know (again) how wonderful Southwest Airlines is. My Mom, Dorothy, was born in Ft. Worth in September of 1928. She lived through the Great Depression, which helped give her a sense of incredible frugality. Until the very end of her life, if there were three green beans left after dinner, they'd go into a plastic butter tub in the refrigerator, and would be served to unsuspecting family members on "Mustgo" night–when everything that "must go" from the refrigerator had to be eaten before it spoiled. I can happily report that Mom never once caused a case of food poisoning... at least none that we were legally informed of. During High School in Ft. Worth, Mom met the man she described as the "best looking Naval enlistee she'd ever seen." They instantly realized they were soul mates, and of course, he would become my Dad. Soon, though, World War II separated them, and while my eventual Dad visited exotic ports-of-call like Shanghai, Manila and Honolulu, my Mom dipped ice cream at the Dolly Madison Ice Cream Shop in downtown Ft. Worth, put up with rationing, and took care of her brother and sister (my Uncle Doc and Aunt Louise). Dad may have defeated the Axis... but Mom defended the home front by protecting and supporting her family. And she did it well. When he came back in 1946, Mom and Dad married, bill-parents.jpgand for more than a decade or so his job took them all over the state of Texas. They lived in Galveston, a block from the beach, close enough to the Gulf to hear the surf at night (and, according to Mom, to create a dusting nightmare due to the sea salt!). They spent time in Beaumont, where they bought a large boat which Dad named the "Dotsy Girl" after my Mom. On its maiden voyage, they were caught in a tropical thunderstorm and very nearly died. But, eventually, they perfected their seamanship skills and subsequently enjoyed many an hour on that boat. They became parents when I arrived on the scene in 1958 (even as a premie, I qualified as "portly!"), followed by the arrival of my brother in 1962. They were GREAT parents, totally involved in every aspect of our lives, from my brother's baseball and football activities to my academics. They were the "fun" parents in the neighborhood. Even when my brother's friends, or mine, were mad at us, our friends would still come down to our house just to hang out with my parents–they'd just ignore my brother or me. It used to drive us crazy! Eventually, after my brother I grew up and got married, Mom and Dad gained a new title in 1984–"grandparent"–when my son was born (he's Officer Owen, whom I've written about here on the Blog). True to form, they relished and excelled in the role of grandparenthood–they were able to spoil my kid rotten, then send him home with me at night. I don't think they ever missed a t-ball, soccer, or "Pop Warner" football game that he ever played. He was–and will evermore be–their "Little Buddy." When Mom lost her soulmate to a car wreck in October of 1991, she drew on that incredible self-reliance she learned growing up in the Depression. Dad's death knocked her back, but it didn't knock her down. She grieved, of course, like we all did, but after a while she picked herself up–dusted herself off–and got on with the business of living. And her strength helped the rest of us carry on. She remained in the home she and Dad had shared (and the one in which my brother and I grew up in), took care of the yardwork and gardening herself until just the past six months or so, and generally kept herself busy. However, eventually, cardiac, pulmonary, and renal disease dug a hole the rest of her body couldn't climb out of, and she left us on December 11th–and on a dark and foggy Tuesday morning, as her vitals were crashing, she kept telling the nurses she needed to "get out of this bed so I can go see my husband." Somehow, subject to whatever theology works for you, Mom was telling them, and us, that she was going to see her soulmate, my Dad. And with all my heart, I believe she did. At Mom's "Refuneral" (we call them that because my son, when he was a kid, said he saw the same people at Reunions and Funerals, so they must be the "same, same, same!"), there were over 100 people. Over twenty of those were my Southwest Airlines Family, many of which had never even met my Mom (although each of them had sure heard stories!!!). That's the kind of support this incredible Company gives its Employees. Six flower sprays or plants were from Southwest Airlines, and when we got home from the burial, the Schedule Planning Department had made sure we had more than enough food for the après-burial dinner. And the dinner was lovely--one Mom would have loved! There are several points I hoped to make in this blog post. One–my Mom was one feisty, steely, funny woman. Two–my Mom loved my Dad, she loved her boys, and she loved the rest of her family. And we loved her. Three–next to being a member of my amazing biological family, being a member of the Southwest Airlines Family is one of the biggest blessings in my life. I can't name another Company that supports its Employees during times of trouble on such a personal level. My Mom LUVed Southwest, and my Southwest Family–and they have returned that LUV many-fold. And the final point…..we'll miss you, Mom. Christmas this year will be a very different animal without you. But all of your Family will remember and love you…forever. Tell Dad we all say hi! bill-momonmaui.jpg
Frequent Flyer C
So sorry to hear this Bill!
Adventurer B
Yet another great post, Bill. I can identify because my Mom was born in May of '28. She was in the hospital for almost six months a couple of years ago ... quadruple bypass at 76 ... and we almost lost her several times. But today, she's her usual cantankerous self :-) I am sorry for your loss and glad you have your families to share your feelings with. B
Adventurer C
Thank you for sharing the heart-touching story of your precious mother, Dorothy. I too am certain your mother was reunited with her soulmate... your father! So this means you now have one more guardian Angel. Just remember, as you gather with family over Christmas... be sure to put those left over green beans in a plastic butter tub! May you always find comfort in those wonderful memories! My thoughts and prayers are with you and your family Bill. God bless the Owen family!
Adventurer C
What a beautiful eulogy Bill. Your Mom sounds like the kind of person who enriches the lives of all those around her. Your eighth paragraph - "Mom was telling them, and us, that she was going to see her soulmate" - brings goosebumps and a lump to my throat.
Explorer C
Bill I am so sorry for the loss of your mother. As usual, what a beautiful post. Thank you so much for reminding us about how wonderful 'families' are, no matter what 'blood' they come from.
Adventurer B
Bill, my thoughts are with you and your family... thank you so much for sharing your thoughts... without having met your mom, it feels like we knew her... a beautiful tribute...
Explorer A
Bill, Thank you so much for sharing the wonderful eulogy with us. While reading it, I thought of my mother whom I lost so many years ago. Your post was not only a eulogy to your mom, but in my mind it was a eulogy for all the wonderful moms that we have lost. You have shared with us all the wonderful traits of your mom along with the sorrow you are feeling. My thoughts are with your family this holiday season.
Explorer C
Sorry for your loss. I lost my mother 11/9 at age 86 after she suffered a sudden massive stroke. Mom and used to talk about what she would do when Dad died (he has Alzheimer's), but she went first. Now, Dad must deal with the loss of his life partner of 66 years. It is sad to see one's parents go through this.
Explorer C
Bill, First off, I'm very sorry for your loss. It sounds like your Mom lived life to it's very fullest and didn't let anything keep her from enjoying it. She was blessed with two wonderful sons. Thanks for sharing such a touching story. The day you lost your Mom marked the 5th anniversary of my Grandma's passing. To this date I still miss my dear Lolly, she was more than just a Grandma, but my best friend as well. I grew up a troubled child, to which my parents found so hard to accept and adjust to, but Lolly was always there for me and understood me and stood by me until her very end. We shared many special moments and dreams together that only two special people could share. I do not work for Southwest, but do work for Southwest Vacations in Orlando and must say I am truly blessed to work hand in hand with such wonderful people at "The Mark Travel Corporation", as well as our partners at Southwest Airlines. As you mentioned, very few companies give their employees as much as they take from them. I hope Christmas brings your blood family and Southwest family even closer together as we gather to share our love and memories and celebrate the birth of our Saviour. Thanks again for sharing your story, it brought tears to my eyes and a little skip in my heartbeat, but it made me take a long look at Lolly's picture on my desk and brought a big smile to my face.
Explorer B
I too have tears in my eyes. Your mother reminds me of my maternal grandmother. We really expected her to give up after grandpa passed away, but we should have known she was tougher than that. She got to meet each of my sister's children, and half of my brother's children before she went to meet her husband. Thank you for sharing, and I'll say a prayer for you and your family.
Explorer C
Bill: Wonderful story and God Bless your Mom. More companies need to pay attention to their employees like Southwest does and all would be better. I hope someday you all can get flights scheduled out of Savannah GA. We would love it! JH
We'll all miss Dorothy. I am sorry, however, that I only had the pleasure of meeting her in person just one time. The service and eulogy that you have were very tasteful. I know she's very proud of you, Tyler, and Mark. I hope you and your family have a wonderful, happy Christmas. Don't forget to drink a toast to Ms. Dorothy this holiday! Cheers!
Aviator C
Bill, I've already sent some comments to you offline, but I just had to publicly thank you for sharing this story and a big chunk of your huge heart with all of us. It's not easy to bare your soul in such a public forum, and I admire you for that. Your post also serves as important reminders to all of us to avoid taking our family members for granted. You and your mom will be in my Holiday thoughts this year. Blog Boy
Explorer C
Bill - thanks for sharing the story of your mom. My dad was also born in 1928. Although, he's gone on to Glory, I do miss him at holiday time. This will be a tough year for you, but the Lord allows time to heal our wounds. I am sure Ms. Dorothy realized that you were an amazing son...and that you gave her flowers, respect, honor, and love while she was on "this" side. Not many children do that for their parents. God bless you and yours this holiday season. Rest assured that your mom is smiling on you and only wants what is best for you. Thanks for sharing your story...and for sharing a new word...'refuneral'...which happens in my family, too.
Explorer A
Bill, I am also blessed to have such a wonderful, caring and devoted mom.Thanks for sharing your reflections on the life of Dorothy. I'm sorry to hear of your loss.
Explorer C
What a wonderful tribute to your parents and family. Thank you for posting your story. If you don't have a tradition...go make one! God bless during this holiday season and your time of reflection of a wonderful life. Hopefully everyone that reads your words will share a ray of sun with others.
Explorer C
Bill: I am so sorry to hear about your mom. I understand completely how you feel. I lost my mom to a brain tumor a short six months after she was diagnosed. She was such a witty and personable woman, it was a blessing that she went before her brain did. There were so many people at her funeral, that by the time the family arrived at the cemetary, cars were still leaving the church. But, the best part of your post was the Mustgo night. We had that at least once a month. All the leftovers came out and my mom said, "everything Must GO!. Thanks for bringing back a great memory. Also, know this, your mom still lives. Not in our lives, but in you, and your family. Love you Bill! Nona/MSY
Explorer C
Dad, What a wonderful way to share mom's life. We all loved her and she will be greatly missed. Mom and Dad (MawMaw and PawPaw) taught you that if you go to work everyday, and love it that is your career that you should do. I think we all can honestly say you took that advise and ran with it, with such a wonderful company. I also just wanted say thank you, DAD, for teaching me the same principals because for you I don't think I would have the same outlook on work, if you haven't had. So cheers to Dorothy Wayne Owen(a wonderful mom, sister, and friend), Southwest Airlines( a wonderful and loving company), and to Bill Owen ( a man that I am proud to call my FATHER). Love, Tyler Owen
Explorer C
Sorry for your loss. May her memory fill you with warm thoughts.
Explorer C
Thank you for sharing. Since I have worked for SWA both my parents passed away. You are right the Southwest Family is Sooooo cool to support us at the difficult times. I know your parents are together as mine are, and at this time of Christmas that a comforting feeling. Have a Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year.
Explorer C
Dearest Bill; What a wonderful and beautiful way to share memories of your mother. I'm truly sad I never met her. You are such an awesome guy I can only imagine what an amazing woman she is. I'm dearly sorry for your loss and I sympathize, it's never easy to lose your mother. Big hugs for you next time I see you. Love you, Judy ps - love the photos of your mom! She was a doll!
Explorer C
It's so troubling to lose someone you love. However I wish you great happiness these holidays. She sounds like she was an amazing woman, and it's great that you are able to share the story of her life with us. I've loved my few trips with Southwest, the friendly gate agents, Pilots, and other staff. But I don't think I had felt that "Southwest Family" feeling until I read this. I'd love to be apart of the Southwest Family, as more than just a customer. Keep your heads up!