Opal Estherwene Owens marks a century of resilience and love

Apr. 25—QUITMAN — Opal Estherwene Owens, a senior member of the Presbyterian Home and Retirement Center in Quitman, celebrated her 100th birthday on April 20, surrounded by family and friends. She marked a century of remarkable memories and experiences.

Born on her grandparents' farm in Whigham, Owens spent her childhood in the beauty of the countryside. Her formal education was received in simple, country schools, where she walked to and from each day. Growing up, Owens was immersed in farm life, surrounded by aunts and uncles who all participated in farming activities.

At a young age, Owens met her future husband while on a double date. Their love blossomed, and they married in 1939 when she was 15 years old. As the nation grappled with the aftermath of the Great Depression, Opal and her husband started their family. Enduring the hardships, Owens cherished her role, often telling her children that her greatest wish was to be a mother.

The outbreak of World War II brought new challenges as Owens' husband was drafted to fight overseas. Separated from her husband for years, Owens courageously raised their young children on her own, facing the uncertainty and hardships of wartime. Tragically, Owens understands loss and sadness, experiencing the loss of a son in a drowning accident and the sudden death of her husband in 1967.

Despite the tragedies and her adversities, Owens remained resilient and devoted to her family. She ran a daycare in her home for many years, providing for her children and creating a nurturing environment for others. Her strength and determination were evident as she navigated life without a car, relying on her children for transportation after a family accident. Above all, she loved her children fiercely and doted on her grandchildren, embodying the true spirit of family and love.

Owens' son and daughter released a statement, "Happy 100th birthday today to our beloved Mama Opal Prince, a woman of incredible strength and devotion. She has faced many challenges but always puts others first and lives with a servant's heart. She is truly blessed. Love you, Mama!"