Alphonso Owens was the second child born to his parents, mother-Mattie Bickerstaff Owens and father-Johny Green Owens on January 15, 1923 in Union Springs, Alabama. Union Springs was a very rural small farm town, where he and his seven siblings worked the family farm. Al enjoyed raising chickens and riding his pet bull. He wanted to do more with his life, so in April 1944 he joined the U.S. Army. While serving his country, he achieved the statue of Rifleman and also was awarded the World War II American Campaign Victory Medal. Later that year on December 22, Al married Catherine Mariner and they relocated from Alabama to New York City. They became the proud parents of Patricia Ann, Ronald and Larry Leon Owens. They moved to the Abraham Lincoln Housing Projects n 1947 until the present. The family became active members of Greater Central Baptist Church in Harlem.
Alphonso had a variety of jobs after he received his honorable discharge from the U.S. Army in 1946. He worked as an aide in a local Long Island Pharmacy and worked several tours at the U.S. Post Office and Department of Transportation Towing Division. For most of his working career, he and his late brother Hubert, formed Owens Painting Co, where they painted exterior/interior homes, mostly on Long Island, New York. After retiring from that, he became the caretaker of Greater Central
Baptist Church until his health started to fail.
So many called him “Pops!”, as he had a way to make you feel like if you were family or not, he was still your Pops. He was not rich in monetary things, but so rich with love, support, guidance and how he saw the world through his eyes! He always had a pleasant smile and loved to laugh and dance. During his last days, he loved to start loudly singing songs whether he knew the words or not. One of his favorite songs was “Amazing Grace!”. He is preceded in death by his wife Catherine (2011), son Larry (2015). He is survived by: his daughter, Patricia and husband John; son Ronald and wife Carol; daughter-in-law Janice; grandchildren: Ronald Jr. and wife Takeya, Michael and wife Elaine, Jaquay, Laurence and wife Jaylene; great-grandchildren: Kyara, Olivia, Alicia, Gavin, Briana, Jasmine, Devin, Kamryn and Ava; sister Elizabeth Loving; nephew Jerry and wife Janice. Besides all of his other nieces, nephews and family friends, he was blessed with his “Special Son” Alan Wiliams, who was there for him 24/7; “Special Daughter” Isabel Irizarry and his “Special Extended Families” Melvin, Doris Parker and family and Warren, Eloise Flowers and family.