James Edward Owens was born in San Diego California in May of 1948, to the late Lucille Owens. He was a graduate of Lincoln High School, class of 1967. He was a great participant and lover of sports. He was also a proud member of the mighty mighty hornet’s football team and participated in their team’s winning the 1966 CIF Championship. He furthered his education at San Diego City College and The United States International University.
As a young man, he married Charlotte Titus and together they raised their two beautiful daughters, Debra and Audrey Owens
In July 1994 James was joined in Holy matrimony to RayElla Brown. Their marriage was knitted together by love for 26 years. They celebrated that blessing, two weeks before James was called home.
He retired with 28 years of dedicated service as a driver with San Diego Transit and displayed with pride his trophy declaring him” First Annual Chess Tournament San Diego Transit Champion (1998).
Dallas Jones, a coworker, witnessed to him about the Lord Jesus Christ. Over time James attended his church, accepted Christ as his Lord and Savior, was baptized, and immediately set out to learn everything he could about his Savior. Understanding Gods word became his priority. He was given an urgency to get the word out to anyone that would hear. James was not able to acknowledge his call to the ministry immediately. He wanted to be sure this was a true calling from God. It wasn’t until his first missionary trip to West Africa with Dr. Paul Fanka that his calling became clear. Being with Dr. Fanka he saw true love for the word, compassion for the people, how important it was to him to get the word out to the people, and he saw what it meant to be on fire for the Lord. He understood Dr. Fanka’s urgency and how important it is to get God’s word to the people. That is what allowed him to acknowledge his own calling to God’s Ministry. Dr. Fanka not only asked James to speak to the people, but encouraged him by informing him that everyone has a message within themselves. It was there, he preached his first and second sermon in Oct 1998. Upon his return he shared his experience with family and friends who were not at all surprised that he had preached, but rather were elated. James was ordained a Minister of Christ in 2011 by the late Dr. Alonzo Cooper, Pastor of University Avenue Baptist Church.
James took his calling very seriously and spent many hours daily in God’s word studying, preparing for sermons, and bible studies. Seizing every opportunity to share the gospel, James also conducted studies at nursing homes and drug and alcohol rehabilitation centers. In his zeal for the Lord, James began an outreach to the homeless. He received permission to use a chapel at St Vincent DePaul as a place to conduct bible study after each street effort. Everyone he spoke to was invited to come to the bible study. He gave that study with the same diligence no matter how many people accepted the invitation. His best friend, Deacon LeNeldon Henderson, witnessed his passion, embraced his vision, and joined him and together they set out to fulfill the charge of the monthly street outreach missions and bible studies. When James could no longer keep the pace, his friend carried the torch. In 2015 in his outreach effort he and his wife designed and posted fliers in a large number of businesses, inviting people to attend an event where a number of Men of God had agreed to come and share God’s Word with people who no longer felt free to go into a church. It was entitled “God’s People Seeking and Reaching God’s People.” God used that effort to his glory.
James also went on other mission trips to Cameroon West Africa. Prior to his last trip to Cameroon he attended an event for one of the future team members, at her home church, New Hope Friendship Missionary Baptist Church, Rev. Milton Chambers Sr, pastor. After his return from Cameroon, Rev. James Owens and his wife RayElla again visited that church. They both became members. He knew he had been led to a place where he could actively continue to serve the Lord God.
In his leisure time he enjoyed playing chess, taking walks, talking with his wife and talking on the phone to family and friends. In the early hours of July 29, 2020, James stepped into the glory of God. He was ready. He would remind us all to be ready.
He is preceded in death by his mother Lucille Owens, his brothers Samuel Owens and Vernon Van Buren. He leaves a host of loved ones to cherish his beautiful memory. They include his Loving wife RayElla Owens, loving daughters Debra Owens and Audrey Owens Dyer (Tilson), brother Dr. Phil Price (Betty), sisters Rose Marie Rowe, Mary Owens Brown, and Arlene Franklin, five grandchildren Brittany Crayton, Lynnette Dyer, Shakira Dyer, Tilson Dyer Jr, and Faith Giles Owens, loving nephews, grandnephew, nieces, a host of other relatives, friends, and his New Hope Friendship Missionary Baptist Church family.
To send flowers to the family or plant a tree in memory of James Edward Owens, please visit our floral store.