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Bess 'Bessie Mae' Owens-Alston

ST. MATTHEWS -- Funeral services for Mrs. Bess "Bessie Mae" Owens-Alston, 80, of 251 Myers Lane, St. Matthews, formerly of Orangeburg, will be held at 11 a.m. Friday, Jan. 11, 2019, at Holy Trinity Catholic Church, with Father Wilbroad Mwape officiating.

Mrs. Bess Alston entered eternal rest following a brief, sudden illness on Thursday, Jan. 3, at Lexington Medical Center in West Columbia. She was born July 23, 1938 in Elloree to the late Isaac and Learline Owens. Her parents made sure all their children knew God and accepted Jesus as their personal Savior. It was from that foundation her life was built. She was educated in Orangeburg schools and began studying at South Carolina State College in 1957 after graduating from Wilkinson High School. It was at South Carolina State College that she met the love of her life, Samuel Alston. They married in 1958. Throughout their marriage, she was a devout Catholic who served as a Rite of Christian Initiation of Adults (RCIA) sponsor, Eucharistic Minister and worked with the Women's Guild, Campus Ministries, Women's Prison Ministries, and choir. She studied the Bible daily and adored Jesus!

Their 60-year marriage began with her supporting her husband during his military service while stationed together in several states, Germany, and while her husband was sent to Vietnam. Her love for playing bridge began while being an “Army wife.” While living in Washington, D.C., she earned a bachelor's degree from the University of the District of Columbia (Federal City College). After returning to Orangeburg with her husband and three children, she earned a master's degree from South Carolina State University and began teaching in Orangeburg. She was a dedicated home economics teacher throughout her career in the Orangeburg, Dorchester, and Richland 1 school systems. She was a Future Homemakers of America (FHA) advisor and loved her students. She also was blessed with an opportunity to help a community establish their school-based, food service program in South Africa shortly after apartheid ended.

After retiring from teaching, she remained active with various faith-based organizations, the South Carolina Education Association, Habitat for Humanity, and other organizations. She loved playing bridge, traveling, cooking, and spending quality time with family and friends.

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She was preceded in death by her mother, Learline Owens, and father, Isaac Owens Sr.; and her brother, Isaac Owens Jr. She leaves to cherish her memory her devoted, loving husband of 60 years, Samuel Alston; children Christopher, Charlene (Ronald) and Joseph (Michelle): seven grandchildren, Leila, Amal, Aman, Khari, Ronald Jr., Aidan and Addison; four siblings, James (Ann) Owens, Dorothy (John) Ritter, and Thelma (Hercules) Mayers, all of Orangeburg, and Mary (Leonard) Russ of Charlotte, North Carolina; mother-in-law Christena Grant of Summerville; sister-in-law Jacqueline Owens of Charleston; and nieces, nephews, cousins, other family members and countless friends.

Friends may call at the residence of her daughter and son-in-law, Charlene (Ronald) Stokes, 219b Mount Hope Drive, Orangeburg, from noon to 6 p.m. daily and at Glover's Funeral Home.

Online condolences may be made at

the life of: Bess 'Bessie Mae' Owens-Alston -- St. Matthews
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