Joan Smith Owens, age 65, better known as Joann, passed away on Tuesday, January 19, 2016 in Provo, Utah. She was born on May 21, 1950 in Abilene, Texas to Lloyd Delton and Dealous Odena Harper Smith. As a baby, her family moved to Mentone, California, just outside the city of Redlands in Southern California. This is where she grew up and spent most of her youth. It was there that she met her lifelong friend, Marilyn, who was one of Jehovah’s Witnesses. Joann and Marilyn have been friends since she was thirteen years old. They would always hang out together and as young teenagers they were known as the ‘tough’ ones in class who could always be counted on to stand up to protect others from the bullies.
While still in high school, Joann met Derrell Lynn Owens while she was cruising ‘E’ Street with her friends in San Bernardino. Derrell soon realized what a wonderful person she was and quickly fell in love with her. Joann loved him dearly as well and even affectionately nicknamed him, ‘Cotton’. They married soon thereafter on June 10, 1967 in Redlands, California. Joann and Derrell were happily married for over 48 years. In 1976, their first child, Jimmy, was born. Then in 1982, Joann gave birth to her daughter, Jolena. She loved her children very much and raised them to also be two wonderful people. During their many years, they lovingly traveled together throughout the country as Derrell worked in the construction industry; moving from California to Oklahoma, back to California, to Texas, then back to California and finally to Utah in 1992. They enjoyed seeing many beautiful places and making many friends along the way.
It was in these travels that Joann and Derrell continued to study the Bible with Jehovah’s Witnesses. Joann was both surprised and deeply impressed with the Bible truths she was learning. Soon, they both began to appreciate and love the God of these Bible truths, Jehovah. In July 1984, they both were baptized as Jehovah’s Witnesses. Joann enjoyed sharing the good news from the Bible with all she met. She was excellent at teaching others and was a hard worker; even willing to stay out all day in the ministry even if her feet were hurting or she didn’t feel good. She died faithful to her God and loved by all her spiritual brothers and sisters.
One of Joann’s favorite Bible characters was Ruth; and it was evident that Joann had many of the same beautiful qualities. She was kind, yet tough and was determined to help others. She was affectionately known as everybody’s ‘therapist’ as she always listened and had something comforting to say. She would often be the first person to volunteer to bring food to people going through a hard time and people were happy to eat it as she was a wonderful cook! She also enjoyed making many pretty pieces of jewelry from the stones and rocks she would collect with her daughter while rock hounding.
She is survived by her husband: Derrell; her children: Jimmy and Jolena; and many friends: Marilyn and James Terry, Sandra and Dale Chambers, Laura Smith, Chelle Verde, Ora Hurst and countless others too numerous to mention in this brief story. She was loved very much and will be sorely missed by all who had the privilege of knowing her. We eagerly look forward to seeing her again when Jehovah resurrects her to the future paradise earth that the Bible promises at John 5:28, 29, Matthew 5:5, Luke 23:43 and Psalm 37:29.
Memorial services will be held at 1:00 p.m. on Saturday, January 30, 2016 at the Kingdom Hall of Jehovah’s Witnesses located at 444 West 100 South, Delta, Utah.