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Ray Leaford Owen / October 11, 2021

Ray Leaford Owen rejoined his wife of 64 years on Friday, Oct. 8, 2021, passing at Liberty Ridge Assisted Living in Lynchburg. He was 89 years old. The son of Robert Thomas Owen and Cora Lee (Slater) Owen, he was born in Halifax County.

He was born to a generation that knew both hardship and responsibility as familiar companions. After losing his mother at an early age, he chose to end his formal education early and to take on the operation of a small sawmill from his father. By age 16, he was known as an accomplished, hard-working miller and businessman.

Hard work did not preclude a social life, and a mutual friend introduced him to Corita Patterson of Lexington, who was then attending Phillips Business College in Lynchburg. They married in June 1955, and their marriage continued until her death in April 2020. Both were members of Clover Bottom Baptist Church in Stovall.

His innate curiosity and intelligence led him to a study of mechanical engineering, which he applied in designing and building a new facility for Owen Lumber, the timber, logging, and sawmill operation that Ray and Corita operated as partners.

Ray led a full life and traveled widely for both business and pleasure. He maintained a lifelong reputation for integrity and quiet competence. As a result, Ray’s counsel was frequently sought by his neighbors, fellow church members, and those in the logging and lumber business. His family is gratified and honored by the many personal stories we have heard regarding both his humor and his influence.

He is survived by his son, Ray L. Owen Jr., and daughter-in-law, Charissa Willard, of Los Gatos California; his brother Donald Owen, of Bedford; and many nieces, nephews, and cousins.

Graveside services were held Sunday, Oct. 10 at 2 p.m. at Clover Bottom

As the present conditions improve, there will be a further announcement of a memorial service and celebration of life for both Ray and Corita.

Ray will be missed by the friends, family, and the many people who knew him well. His family is grateful to everyone who graced his life, to his caregivers, and to those who serve in the Seven Hills Hospice program. We are overwhelmed by the concern and the compassion shown to us in our time of sadness and remembrance. Your expressions of love and your recollections help us to ease this journey.

Condolences may be sent by visiting

Henderson Funeral Home and Cremation Service is assisting the family.

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