NANCY S. OWENS, born in Wooster, Ohio on August 4, 1949, stubbornly and bravely battled three bouts of breast cancer over a 20-year period until September 7, 2001. Nancy grew up in St. Joseph, Michigan, and graduated from Michigan State University in 1971 with a B.S. in Interior Design. She worked in the interior design field for four years and then moved to Houston in 1976 where she went to work for John Daugherty Realtors selling residential properties. In 1981, she co-founded Turner-Owens Properties real estate firm. She sold the company in 1986 and started Nancy Owens Properties. In an effort to simplify her life—after fighting off breast cancer for a second time in 1992—she returned to John Daugherty Realtors as a broker associate.
Nancy received numerous awards and accolades during her 25-year real estate career, including the prestigious John E. Wolf Citizenship Award in the year 2000 presented by the Houston Association of Realtors. She was a member of the Texas Association of Realtors and the National Association of Realtors. She was active in a diverse group of organizations, including Kappa Kappa Gamma, Eye Openers (her breakfast club), and numerous charitable organizations.
Nancy’s passion was the country life. She and her husband, Joe, with whom she shared 25 years, escaped to her 103-acre farm in Shelby, Texas, near Round Top, as frequently as she could to spend time with her precious horses and mules and just watch the grass and the wildflowers grow. She very much enjoyed the little church by her farm, St. Paul Lutheran Church. Nancy was also an adventurous and zealous traveler and was always up for a trip.
She was a lady, first and foremost. Dignified, sophisticated, elegant. That she was physically beautiful was probably what most people noticed first about her. Dark brown hair, perfectly styled, framed her porcelain, wrinkle-free face. Her hazel (although sometimes they appeared to be green or blue) eyes constantly twinkled and were full of enthusiasm. When she smiled at you, you could feel the power of that smile from your head to your toes. Even if you were having a bad day, you smiled back at her, almost involuntarily, and somehow you felt a little better. Nancy was as beautiful inside as she was on the outside.
She was an immaculate dresser, even when she was just hanging out. She wore bright colors that set off her beauty magnificently, and every accessory was perfectly placed and coordinated. And yet Nancy was a very down-to-earth woman with no airs of entitlement.
Her sense of humor was legendary. It was innocent and never at the expense of another’s feelings. It was the unbridled joy that you might see in a child. Her friends loved it when she ventured out to the very edge of being risqué and full of mischief. The sound of her laughter could ignite a chain reaction in a group. It was one of the sounds that filled her life, and the lives of those around her most often.
Just the mention of the phrase “oldies music” would make Nancy’s eyes light up like a Christmas tree. She adored the music from the 50s and 60s, and she loved to dance to those tunes and sing every word just like it was yesterday—40 years later.
Nancy was the epitome of the saying “When life hands you lemons, make lemonade.” With very few exceptions, she found something good in people and in situations from which others might have retreated.
During her illness she was supported by many dear friends, including Amy Bernstein, Gloria Moorman, Bonnie Hellums, Candy Caspersen, Cay Dickson and so many other thoughtful, loving and supportive friends—in particular all of her real estate friends.
A memorial service was held at St. Martin’s Episcopal Church in Houston on Tuesday, September 11, 2001 at 2:00 PM. Memorial arrangements were made by Settegast-Kopf. The service was overflowing with mourners despite the paralysis from the emotional events of the morning of 9/11. The early events of the day made the made the tragic loss of a beautiful friend even more poignant.
There was no greater beauty than Nancy’s smile and the twinkle in her eyes—whether she was showing her wonderful sense of humor or working on a real estate deal. The lessons of courage, faith, and perseverance that she taught so many who knew her will forever be remembered.