Nancy Lea Brown Owen

Nancy Lea Brown Owen of Elizabethtown died there on January 8th, 2018 at the age of 91, after a short illness. Her parents, who pre-deceased her, were Roy Merritt Brown, Sr. of Toccoa, Georgia, and Nancy Lovenah Vinson Brown of Conyers, Georgia. She was the niece of Sarah Lee Vinson Timmons, also of Conyers, Georgia. Mrs. Owen was the wife of the first president of the Elizabethtown Community and Technical College, Dr. Jim Owen, who died in 2001. Their marriage was a loving and devoted union of more than 54 years. She was born and raised in Decatur, Georgia, and obtained her early education at Decatur Girls’ High School where she received the prestigious Bausch & Lomb medal for outstanding science achievement. Mrs. Owen spent her first college years at Queens College in Charlotte, North Carolina, where she was a member of the Alpha Delta Pi Sorority and yearbook staff. She graduated from Auburn University with degrees in English Literature and Journalism and was an active member of the student newspaper and yearbook staffs. She later worked as a feature writer and copy editor for the Atlanta Constitution as well as for several community newspapers. She wrote a weekly opinion column “Woman Speaks” for the Elizabethtown News Enterprise in Elizabethtown, Kentucky, as well as serving as the newspaper’s drama and movie critic, for several years. She also authored the book, “The Plow and the Church”, a comprehensive study of the Shaker religious movement in America with emphasis specifically on the Pleasant Hill, Kentucky, Shaker Colony. After having taught Senior English and Journalism for some time in the Alabama public schools, Mrs. Owen became a featured character actress in many theaters throughout the central Kentucky area, including Actor’s Theater of Louisville and Beef and Boards Dinner Theater in Simpsonville, Kentucky. She also appeared in “The Stephen Foster Story” outdoor amphitheater drama, in Bardstown, Kentucky. For 5 years she was a member of the resident acting company of the Horse Cave Repertory Theater in Horse Cave, Kentucky. She later appeared in movies starring Tommy Lee Jones, Woody Harrelson, Ed Norton, and Brian Dennehy and was directed by Oscar-winning director Milos Forman. She was a member of Screen Actor’s guild and Actor’s Equity association. She was a tireless and devoted member of the award-winning women's barbershop chorus Pride of Kentucky Sweet Adelines, based in Louisville. She was an avid scuba diver and was privileged to travel the world in pursuit of her hobby, having been PADI certified in 1972. Mrs. Owen was a patient counselor for Hosparus of Central Kentucky and was named honorary co-chairman of the Elizabethtown Community and Technical College's 50th anniversary celebration in the 10 counties and 3 campuses that the College serves. An avid bridge player, she belonged to many clubs composed of family and friends, throughout the area during her lifetime. Mrs. Owen is survived by 3 children: Beth Gaunce (Clay) of Harrodsburg, Kentucky, Steve Owen (Rebecca) of Tell City, Indiana, and Patrick Owen (Norman Dixon) of Los Angeles, California, and one foster daughter, Alley Hinkle of Olympia, Washington. She is also survived by six grandchildren: James Gaunce of Lexington, Kentucky, Elizabeth Gaunce of Harrodsburg, Kentucky, Sara Owen Frazier (Micah) of Salt Lake City, Utah, Emily Owen Young (Cliff) of San Diego, California, Bradley Belcher of Tell City, Indiana, and Kaitlyn Belcher of Indianapolis, Indiana. Her great-grandchildren are Sophia and Bella Gaunce of Lexington, Kentucky, Corbin Crawford of San Antonio, Texas, Owen Gaunce of Lexington, Kentucky, and Clifford James Young of San Diego, California. Her one brother, Roy Brown, Jr., of Lilburn, Georgia, died in January of 2017. A service in celebration of her life with be held at Brown Funeral Home on January 13th, 2018, beginning at 11:00 am, with visitation starting at 9:00 am. Expressions of sympathy may take the form of Contributions to the Dr. Jim Owen Memorial Scholarship Fund at the Central Kentucky Community Foundation. Condolences may be expressed online at


Saturday, January 13, 2018 from 9:00 AM to 11:00 AM
Brown Funeral Home


Saturday, January 13, 2018 starting at 11:00 AM
Brown Funeral Home

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