Mrs. Zelma Mines Owens, 92, entered eternal life on Saturday, March 5, 2022, at home and in the presence of her family. She was a native and lifelong resident of Savannah, Georgia. Born on May 15, 1929, Zelma was the youngest of four surviving children born to George and Leila Brooker Mines.
Known for her quick wit and love of laughter, she was educated in the public schools of Savannah-Chatham County and was a 1946 graduate of Alfred E. Beach High School. Zelma earned a BA degree from Savannah State College (now Savannah State University) and taught in the Chatham County Public Schools, and the South Carolina Public Schools for more than 35 years. In 1989, she was named Teacher of the Year for West Hardeeville Elementary School in Hardeville, South Carolina. Zelma was a teacher's teacher and is widely remembered by her former students as a no-nonsense teacher with lots of compassion and one who made a difference in their lives.
Throughout her nine decades, she was many things to many people. Of her many roles in life, she most cherished being a wife, mother, and educator. She was a devoted wife to her husband, Allen Owens (deceased). As a mother to young children, she read stories during bedtime and there were always hugs and kisses. As a mother to adults, she was a mentor and confidante. As a grandmother and great-grandmother, she was committed to nurturing and undergirding her family. Even into her 90s, Zelma enjoyed celebrating birthdays and special holidays. At the same time, she was forever one of those mothers who could give you “the look” and you knew to straighten up!
Her students remember her as a committed teacher who believed in discipline and love. To Zelma, being an educator was more than a profession. It was her vocation, and it was an extension of who she was at the core.
Her love for people extended beyond her family, friends, and students. She had great compassion for others. Her children recalled several times where she welcomed into her home people who were experiencing difficult seasons in their personal lives. She brought them in and allowed them to stay in her home, with her family, until they were able to stand on their own.
While we have lost a jewel of a matriarch, heaven has gained a great daughter. Zelma was preceded in death by her parents (George and Leila Brooker Mines), brothers (Henry Mines and George A. Mines), sister and brother-in-law (Parnell Mines Jones and Johnnie Paul Jones, Sr.), son (Joseph Hull, III), granddaughter (Iris Hull), and her dear cousin (Martha Ann Farmer).
She leaves to cherish her memory: Children - Shirley Ann Hull James (Savannah, GA), Allynne Tosca Owens (Savannah, GA), and Wanda Owens Jones (Alvin, Sr.) (Atlanta, GA); Grandchildren - Avis Hull Buford (Mobile, AL), Tiffany James Straughter (Corey, Sr.) (Savannah, GA), Portia Jones Benbow (Kenneth, Sr.) (Atlanta, GA), Alvin Jones, II (Atlanta, GA), and Allen Franklin Jones (ToiDerrica) (Washington, GA); Great-Grandchildren - Andrew Buford (Mobile, AL), Marcus Buford, Sr. (Mobile, AL), Corey Straughter, Jr. (Savannah, GA), Cameron Straughter (Savannah, GA), Grace Straughter (Savannah, GA), Kenneth Benbow, Jr. (Atlanta, GA), and Ashar Jones (Washington, GA); Great-Great Grandchildren – Amaya Buford, Madisyn Nicole Buford, and Marcus Alexander Buford, Jr. (all of Mobile, AL); nephew - Johnnie Paul Jones, Jr. (Savannah, GA); special family and friends – Lenon Brooker (Hampton, SC), Gloria Jean Simmons (Savannah, GA), Sara Herring (Savannah, GA), and Dr. and Mrs. Douglas Marira (Pat), (Savannah, GA).
Due to the current state of (COVID-19) pandemic and in order to promote social distancing, anyone entering the funeral home for viewing; as well as attending all graveside or funeral service, either inside or outside, must wear a mask. We will also limit the number of persons allowed to enter the funeral home or any other facility at any given period during the viewing process. We ask that you leave the premise upon exiting the building. The family is most appreciative to each of you for all acts of kindness shown to them during this difficult time in their lives.
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