Mary C. Owens, 86
SEASIDE, CA – Mary DaLuz Cruz entered this world on April 3, 1935, during the Great Depression in New Bedford, Massachusetts, the youngest of three children born to Antonio Cruz and Maria Dos Dord (Alves) Cruz.
Both her parents’ families immigrated to the Eastern U.S .from the Cape Verde Islands at the turn of the 20th century. Cape Verde is a group of nine islands, recently independent of Portugal in 1975 and located off the Western Coast of Africa.
Mary’s parents died early, and she and her siblings were taken in and raised with her aunts and uncles by their maternal grandparents Antone Alves and Mary DaLuz Lopes Alves in Mattapoisett, Mass. Mary’s first language was the language spoken in her home (Portuguese Creole), she learned English as a second language in school.
Always ambitious, Mary dropped out of school in the eighth grade and forged her work permit to begin working at a military defense plant.
Mary married very early and through two marriages, to Edgar Sherman Moore II (US Navy) and Willie E. Owens Sr. (US Army) had five sons by the age of 28. She and her second husband moved to the Monterey Peninsula in 1961 with the US Army and was stationed at Fort Ord.
Through work as a private duty nurse, Mary purchased her home in Seaside, CA in December of 1968. In 1969, Mary began working as a community liaison at Seaside High School. As a single parent, she worked and raised her sons. She returned to school and earned her teaching and counseling credentials. She ultimately earned
a master’s degree in Counseling in 1975 from San Jose State University. Mary was employed by the Monterey Peninsula Unified School District (MPUSD) for over thirty-five years and served as Dean of Students, counselor and administrator at Seaside High School, Martin Luther King Middle School in Seaside and Los Arboles Middle School in Marina, California.
Mary focused on addressing the personal, social and academic needs of the students she served.
She taught classes in organizational skills, tutored her students and held parent conferences. Mary established and taught the very first practical nursing program at Seaside High School. Mary was so well-respected by her colleagues that the Monterey Bay Teachers Association has an award entitled, “The Mary C. Owens Award” which is given annually to an educator who, through his or her own selfless spirit, enhances the lives of others.
Mary had rallied community groups and agencies to support her projects to lead an annual holiday shopping trip for students in need. Additionally, Mary found a way to assist students in need to help their families pay their monthly rent/expenses by coordinating tamale sales with the help of parents and other community members.
Mary has been the recipient of many honors including: Outstanding Volunteer – NAACP, Certificate of Recognition – Toastmasters of Marina, Outstanding Educator Award – City of Marina, “Yesterday’s” Courage Award – Monterey Bay LINKS, Inc.; and was named one of ten “Outstanding Women in Monterey County” for the year 2002. In 2019, Mary was awarded the prestigious Presidents Award from the Monterey branch of the NAACP.
Mary would often say, “My love for young people came from not wanting them to experience some of the pain I experienced as a young person, by some of the early choices I made.”
Upon Mary’s retirement in 2004, Mary purchased her childhood home in Mattapoisett, Mass and dedicated much of her time, caring for her youngest Aunt – traveling back and forth between Seaside and Massachusetts – where she has shown love to both communities by giving her heart through preparing traditional Cape Verdean food for friends and family.
Upon returning permanently to the Monterey Peninsula in early 2018, Mary dedicated her time and attention to working with small children at the Village Project in Seaside. In late 2018, Mary’s health deteriorated suddenly, and she required around the clock care. Her health and happiness were sustained, mainly because of the caring hands of her loving granddaughter Jane Cruz Moore Bentley, her nurse and very close companion Cynthia Haynes along with her dedicated weekend nurse Idella Tyus.
Mary peacefully transitioned into her heavenly home from her earthly home in Seaside on Tuesday, January 18, 2022 at 4:15 pm. In her last days, up to her very last hour, Mary received her last rites and covering prayers from Father Eleazar Diaz-Gaytan and her long-term priest and counselor Father Michael Volk (who drove all the way from Speckles, CA). Mary also got to interact with each of her four sons and her best friend for years, Mrs. Daisy Mathis. We have peace in knowing she was surrounded by her loved ones at the time of her passing.
Mary leaves to cherish her memory her four sons Edgar Sherman Moore III (Trisha) – Phoenix Az, Robert Joseph Moore (Linda) – Seaside, CA, William Kent Owens (Carol) - Sacramento and Willie Edward Owens Jr (Min) – Sacramento, CA, Ten Grandchildren, Maria Matice Moore – Detroit, MI, Monique L. Owens –Sacramento, CA, Edgar Isaac Moore (Lisa) – Phoenix, AZ, Jessica Rosalien Owens – Sacramento, CA, Jordan Keith Owens (Shannon) -Sacramento, CA, Desiree Moore Bobadilla (Ralph) –Salinas, CA, Jane Cruz Moore Bentley (Zach) –Tucson, AZ, Mara DaLuz Owens Bernado (Eric) – Stockton, CA, Robert James Moore – Marina , CA, Macie Dunwar Owens Young (Eric) – Sacramento CA, and thirteen great grandchildren – Gabriel, London, Myles, Camden, Ryleigh, Morrigan, Zoe-Lynn, Mattie, Mila, Marlino, Jaxten, Eric Benjamin, and Zaria. Two God Daughters Angela Brown and Pamela Mathis along with many nieces and nephews that she loved dearly.
Preceding her in death was her son Michael Jeffrey Moore-Owens, her daughter-in-law, Mattie Lavender Moore, her sister, Adeline Cruz Gatewood, her brother Antone “Noonie” Cruz and her youngest aunt Benvinda Alves Lobo, uncles; Manual Alves, Johnny Alves, Baptiste Alves, Antone Alves, Aunts Joanna Alves Tavares, and Clara Alves and her dear grandmother Mary Daluz Lopes-Alves. We rest in knowing she is no longer alone and is celebrating in heaven with her loved ones. These are the names she asked us about daily leading up to her passing.
We, the family of Mary C. Owens want to take this opportunity to thank each person who took the time to: call, text, post, visit, send flowers, make donations on her behalf or simply show us how much you loved our Mom with your words. A very special thanks to Cynthia Haynes, Daviana Nakita, Ron Johnson, Darryl Choates, the staff at Deja Blue, Seaside and Chris Shake and the Shake family of Fisherman’s Grotto for your generous gifts of photos, video, food, service, love and support during this most difficult time. We trust that everyone who attends services will carefully adhere to the COVID-19 Protocols. Please mask and socially distance.
Visiting hours are from 4 to 7 p.m. on Tuesday, Feb. 8, at Chapman Funerals & Cremations, 2599 Cranberry Highway, Wareham.
Her funeral will be held at 9:00 a.m. on Wednesday, Feb. 9, from the funeral home, followed by a Funeral Mass at 10:00 a.m. in St. Patrick’s Church, 82 High St., Wareham.
Burial will follow in St. Anthony’s Cemetery, Mattapoisett.
To share a memory or leave a message of condolence, visit: www.chapmanfuneral.com.