James Melvin Owens, Jr., a well-respected member of the Elizabeth City community and owner/operator of Owens Landscaping and Demolition for over 50 years, peacefully passed away in his residence on September 11, 2023, at the age of 83. Born on July 27, 1940, in Pasquotank County, NC, Melvin was the beloved son of the late James Melvin Owens and Etta Scarborough Owens. He was the cherished husband of Becky Winslow Owens, with whom he shared sixty-two wonderful years of marriage. Together, they formed a strong foundation for their family, weathering life’s ups and downs with unwavering love and support.
In his professional career, Melvin gained significant recognition as the “demolition man” of Elizabeth City. His expertise allowed him to dismantle houses and buildings across Northeast NC, leaving behind a legacy of cleared spaces and transformed landscapes. After retiring from his own business, Melvin continued working for Stevenson Sand Company for the last eleven years and at the landfill, always enjoying the thrill of operating a bulldozer. The girls affectionately called him the “King of the Hill.”
Away from work, Melvin had many interests that brought him immense joy. He held a great appreciation for tractors, engaging in truck pulls and proudly displaying his antique John Deere tractor during parades. He also had a passion for horses and tending his family farm. He found solace in hitching up a wagon and giving his family and friends memorable rides and working the land. Adventurous by nature, Melvin also loved the exhilaration of motorcycle riding.
Despite his myriad interests, Melvin’s world revolved around his family. His daughters, Deborah Owens Moncla (Pete), Beth Owens Cosgrove (Gary), and Jennifer Owens McNeill (Carey), were the absolute joy of his life. He treasured every moment spent with his five grandchildren, Rachel Rae Ward, Jill Marie Moncla, James Owens Moncla, Owen Kennedy McNeill, and Mattilyn Jane McNeill. He is survived by his sisters, Jean Owens Jordan and Janet Owens Barkley.
The family would like to give a special thanks to his devoted caregivers, that he called his daughters #4 and #5, Kim Burgess and Meredith Umphlett.
Faith played a significant role in Melvin’s life, as he was a lifelong member of City Road United Methodist Church. He found solace and guidance within its walls, giving him strength to face life’s challenges and celebrate its blessings.
A funeral service for Melvin will be held at City Road United Methodist Church, 511 North Road Street, Elizabeth City, NC 27909 on Thursday, September 14, 2023, at 2:00 PM, with Rev. Sylvia Collins-Ball officiating. Following the service, the family will receive friends in Edwards Hall. A private family burial will take place at Owens Family Cemetery.
In lieu of flowers, the family suggests memorial donations to City Road United Methodist Church allowing Melvin’s spirit of faith and generosity to continue making a difference in the lives of others.
James Melvin Owens, Jr. touched the hearts of many throughout his life, leaving behind memories filled with love, laughter, and the shared experiences of a remarkable man. His legacy will forever live on in the cherished moments he created with his loved ones and the impact he made within his community.
Twiford Funeral Homes, 405 E. Church Street, Elizabeth City, NC 27909 is assisting the Owens Family. Condolences and memories may be shared at www.TwifordFH.com.