On Friday, August 27, 2021, Bobby Samuel Owens, passed away at the age of 79. He was preceded in death by his parents, John and Ann Owens; by the mother of his children, Donnette Crow Owens; and by his grandson, James Phillips. He was survived by his husband of over 32 years, Randy Wilson; his children, Anthony Owens, Martin Owens and his wife Shannon, and Anna Walls and her husband Jerome; his brother, John Owens; and his sister and brother-in-law, Marka Wilson Blackerby and David Blackerby. He also leaves several grandchildren and great-grandchildren, especially close to him were Josephine McCracken, Charlotte Vergara, Cindy Galutza, Emily Beltz, Elijah Beltz, and Sadie Walls.
At an early age, he had a passion for art and design. When seeing the need for a window display artist at a local retail store in Anniston, Alabama, he used his eloquent gift of persuasion to acquire his first design position. After attending the New York School of Interior Design, he spent forty years as a successful artist and designer in the Birmingham area.
As a self-proclaimed “perpetual entrepreneur,” he started many successful design, art, and furniture businesses. His experiences in London deepened his love for, and appreciation of the Old Masters, as well as the continental contemporary artists. His love of England coupled with his love of the history of art and design was the perfect combination for further adding antiques into his portfolio. The small intimate environment of Fifth Avenue Antiques allowed him more time to spend developing his artistic skills while enjoying family life.
Retirement freed his hands to relish every artistic skill he had, and it allowed him the time to learn a few more. Inspired by his granddaughter, he added a bit more whimsy to his artistic projects. Always creating, he spent his days with projects like disassembling chandeliers for flowering vines, designing elaborate Halloween costumes for horses, assembling Kentucky Derby hats, painting canvas filled with cupcakes laced with real pearls, and building a cottage (with stained glass windows) for their chickens. Even in retirement, he continued to add the perfect finishing touch to everything and everyone around him.
His life motto was “everything worth doing is worth overdoing,” and anyone that has seen his elegant design work can attest to this applying to every detail. The sentiment of his motto didn’t end with his design work, but flowed over to every aspect of his life. His deep love for his husband, Randy, was an inspiration to everyone they met. His love, support, and encouragement of his family was felt during both success and failure. He smiled easily, loved to laugh, and cherished his family and close friends. Bobby’s legacy will continue to be the simple brush stroke that makes the little things in life more beautiful.
A Memorial Service will be held in the chapel of Jefferson Memorial Funeral Home on Saturday, September 4, 2021 at 10 a.m. with a short visitation at 9 a.m. In lieu of flowers, donations may be made to the Birmingham Botanical Gardens.
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