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URBANA — Alfred Owens, “The Original Hero” to daughters Angela Taylor and Donna Epps, peacefully took wings at 1:05 a.m. Friday (March 20, 2020) at his home at Prairie Winds of Urbana.

As his earthly tabernacle continued to decline over the years, his spirit and thoughts looked more and more toward his eternal resting place in heaven.

Alfred was born June 29, 1932, to Elmer And Gertrude Owens. He grew up in the culturally rich heritage of the African-American, North End community on Fifth Street in Champaign. The third-oldest of four children, he attended Lawhead, Willard, Junior High School, and graduated from Champaign High School in 1950.

Upon graduation, he worked for the Thomas Randolph Printing company. Afterward, he would work for the Champaign-Urbana Courier newspaper until the time of its closing in 1979.

When the Courier closed, he worked for the Illinois American Water Co. until retiring in 1997, and lastly, he worked as a host at the Christie Clinic in downtown Champaign.

In 1959, Alfred married our mother, Anna Martin, from Danville. Their marriage lasted more than 50 years, until her death in 2010. To this union were born two daughters, Angela Owens Taylor and Donna Epps (Billy).

Left to cherish his memory are his last remaining sibling and sister, Billie Jean Stith of Champaign; nieces, Stephanie Stith of Champaign and Patricia Whitehead of Chicago; nephew, Rudolph Stith of Tinley Park; grandsons, Gregory Taylor and Christian Sutton of Milwaukee, Wis., and Simeon Epps of Champaign; and great-granddaughters, Lauren, London and Ivy Taylor and Ariyelle Sutton.

Alfred was preceded in death by his parents; wife; two brothers, Jesse “Piggy” Owens and Elmer “Oney” Owens; and twin great-granddaughters, Germany and Jersey Taylor of Milwaukee, Wis.

His spiritual foundation was cultivated at the original Mtount Olive Baptist Church, and he accepted Christ there, under the pastorate of the Rev. Kilgore. Mount Olive would be the church that he would continue to be a member of for his full 87 years.

Alfred was a man of few words, but he meant what he said and said what he meant. He was an “old school” father, in that he worked every day, rarely took time off, lived within his means and believed in a man taking care of his family.

He was a strong protector of his children and grandchildren, and taught life’s principles by example, not so much by words. Indeed, this imperfect, humble, intelligent, hardworking man has left his imprint on the lives of his family and others. That imprint has made us better people to have known, and to have been loved by, him.

A private service will take place at Leek & Sons Funeral Home. Officiating will be Pastor Keith Thomas. Burial will be at Woodlawn Cemetery.

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