Doris Owens passed away peacefully in Lawrence on October 16, 2014, at Allie’s Village Memory Care Home, where she had received tender, loving care during the last eight months of her life. She was born in Lawrence on May 13, 1931 to Howard and Elma McConnell. Doris graduated from Lawrence Memorial High School in 1949 and from The University of Kansas in 1953 with a degree in performance piano. She met her future husband, Dean Owens, on a blind date in the fall of 1949 at KU where she was a member of Gamma Phi Beta sorority. After graduation they were married by Dale Turner at Plymouth Congregational Church in Lawrence on June 10, 1953. Their honeymoon was the drive to Camp Lejeune, North Carolina, where Dean reported for active duty in the U.S. Marine Corps, and after that for several weeks in a small house on the beach at New Topsail Beach, N.C.
In 1956 the couple returned to Lawrence where Doris was active in Lawrence Music Club, P.E.O., the University Club and other organizations and where all three of their children were born. After working with Doris’ father at McConnell Lumber Company for ten years, Dean enrolled in the Law School at Kansas University. To help support the family, Doris taught piano, typed theses for KU graduate students and appeared in a number of commercials filmed by Centron Corporation.
After Dean’s graduation from Law School in 1968, the family moved to Salina where Doris made many new friends quickly. She became more involved as president of her P.E.O. chapter and member of a number of state committees. She continued teaching piano, was pianist for the Salina Symphony, Deacon and Elder of the First Presbyterian Church, volunteer receptionist for the hospital, and active in a number of other civic and sorority boards and groups. For many years the couple traveled the world with trips to all of the continents except Antarctica. Their most rewarding trips were to London with each of their grandchildren for their sixteenth birthdays.
The couple designed and built three of the family’s homes, with Doris doing the decorating and much of the painting for each of them. For her entire life, Doris enjoyed knitting and sewing, making countless items of clothing and sweaters for family and friends.
Doris was an avid tennis player. For many years Doris and a friend hosted a Breakfast at Wimbledon party for the ladies final of the British Open tennis tournament. In 1995 the Salina Country Club sponsored Doris and seven good friends in the US Tennis Association national team tennis tournament. After state and regional championships, the team was off to Tucson for the national finals where they lost their first match to Palo Alto. Fortunately it was double elimination and, after winning the rest of the matches in their bracket, they again faced Palo Alto and this time won to become USTA Senior 3.0 National Champions. It was an exciting time for all concerned.
She and Dean retired to Lawrence in 2005 where they renewed friendships from years before and soon gained many new friends. Doris was a member of Plymouth Congregational Church, Chapter EA of P.E.O., Lawrence Music Club, New Generation Society and several other groups. Doris is survived by her husband, a son Steven (Mindy) of Leawood, a daughter Susan (Jim) of Overland Park, a daughter Sarah (Thom) of Wichita, six grandchildren and one great grandchild. Her parents and brother, Don McConnell, predeceased her.
Doris was a busy, happy, supporting and loving wife and mother whose family fully appreciated all that she did for them. She was dearly loved and will be deeply missed.
After private burial there will be a memorial service at Plymouth Congregational Church, 925 Vermont in Lawrence on October 20, 2014 at 2 p.m. The family suggests memorials to Allie’s Village or KU School of Music c/o KU Endowment Association which may be sent to Warren-McElwain Mortuary, 120 W. 13th Street, Lawrence, Kansas 66044.