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E. Owen KELLUM Jr.


Family-Placed Death Notice

KELLUM, Jr., E. Owen REV. E. OWEN KELLUM, JR. 3-5-1932 -- 5-22-2013 E. Owen Kellum, Jr., a lifetime native Atlantan born on March 5, 1932, died at Emory University Hospital following a brief illness on May 22, 2013. He was preceded in death by his wife of 58 years, Olive Long Kellum, and his parents, E. Owen Kellum and Vera Barnett Kellum. Owen Kellum is survived by his children, Vera Lynn Sheets (Randall C. Sheets) of Mobile, Alabama; Glenn Owen Kellum (Celindy Johnson Kellum) of Lawrenceville, Georgia; and Natalie Kellum Allen, of Pelham, Alabama. Grandchildren are Kendall Allen Bolling (Michael A. Bolling) of Birmingham, Alabama; Ryan Oliver Sheets of Birmingham; Lindsay Claire Sheets of Mobile; and Dana Carroll Allen of Pelham; along with cousins, nephews, nieces and dear friends. Owen attended R. L. Hope Elementary School and graduated from North Fulton High School in 1949. As a child and teenager, Owen was very involved in oratory, piano, clarinet, saxophone, and dance, while also excelling academically. During these years, he won numerous speaking awards and performed in many recitals, at community events, and at school. For his well-rounded extracurricular and academic achievements, he was awarded the Atlanta Journal Cup in 1949. Owen was well-known for his tap dancing and was, because of his dancing talent and similar looks, sometimes compared to the actor and dancer Donald O'Connor. Participation in jazz and classical instrumental ensembles in both high school and college brought him much satisfaction and joy. Reflecting his interest in theater at a young age, Owen and Olive had their first "real" date at the Fox Theater, though they had been young sweethearts since middle school. Owen left home to attend school at Davidson College, in Davidson, North Carolina, in 1949. It was there, at the age of 17, that he discovered he was a Type 1 diabetic, an illness he managed for 64 years. Throughout his life, except for brief intervals and until his sudden death, his doctors often marveled at his energy, stamina, and general health - calling him finally, at 81 years old, "miraculous." He graduated from Davidson College in 1953 with the Bachelor of Science degree, with merit. While at Davidson, Owen heard God's call for him to be a minister and became the student pastor of Huntersville United Methodist Church in Huntersville, N.C. (1952-1953). Owen married his teenage sweetheart, Olive Wills Long, on August 17, 1954, at Peachtree Road United Methodist Church in Atlanta where both families were active. Olive's father, the Rev. Dr. Nat Long, was the senior pastor there at the time, and Owen's father, E. O. Kellum, Executive Vice-President of the Lawyers Title Insurance Corporation, was the chair of the church's administrative board, church treasurer, and a district steward, while his mother was most active on the kitchen committee. Following their honeymoon to Florida and New York City, Owen and Olive moved to Durham, N.C. where both he and Olive graduated from Duke University. In 1956, Owen received the Master of Divinity degree from Duke. While in Durham as a graduate student, Owen served as pastor for the Maybrook-Massey Charge (1954-1956). He and Olive then moved to Boston where Owen earned the Master of Sacred Theology degree from Boston University School of Theology. Following graduation, they returned to their "homeland," the Atlanta area, to be near their families, and it was here Owen received his first full-time appointment with the North Georgia Conference of the United Methodist Church. He was appointed to Headland Heights United Methodist Church in East Point, where he served 7 years (1957-1964).
While at East Point, Vera Lynn and Glenn were born. In 1964, Owen and Olive moved to Covington, Georgia, where Natalie was born. He served Covington First United Methodist Church for 6 years (1964-1970). The Kellums then moved to Dunwoody, Georgia, where Owen was appointed the Senior Pastor at Dunwoody United Methodist Church, and there he served for 8 years (1970-1978). In 1978, Owen became Senior Pastor at Griffin First United Methodist Church where he served for 7 years (1978-1985), and where his oldest two children were both married. He served Douglasville First United Methodist for 6 months, after which he took an incapacity leave due to health-related issues. In 1987, Owen began a new chapter in his ministerial life. Over the next 26 years, Owen received four retired appointments, each of which played an important role in his life and the life of his family, fulfilling his final years of service in the United Methodist Church. He served Big Springs United Methodist Church in Woodstock for two years (1990-1992), St. Matthew United Methodist in East Point for 9 years (1992-2001), Park Street United Methodist Church in Atlanta for 11 years (2001-2012), and finally, until his death, Mary Brannan United Methodist Church in Atlanta (2012-2013). Many dear and lifelong friendships were formed at each of the churches Owen served. Owen and Olive were partners in servant ministry in the congregations he served; however, after their children were grown, Olive also attended divinity school, Emory University's Candler School of Theology, and was fully ordained as a Deacon in the North Georgia Conference of the United Methodist Church (1997). While Owen served his appointed churches, she served Kingswood United Methodist Church in Dunwoody, and then at Cumming First United Methodist (1988-2003). Again, though serving at different churches, Owen and Olive made conscious efforts to be involved in each other's congregations whenever they could, and were both blessed by their ministries and the friendships they formed in those places. Among his many talents and accomplishments, Owen will be remembered as a loving and generous husband, father, and grandfather, always working to provide whatever he thought was needed or wanted. He was a snappy dresser, photography enthusiast, lover of jazz, and an avid movie buff and self-proclaimed film critic. He loved to travel and enjoyed the theater, particularly live musicals at the Fox Theater. He will forever be missed, remembered, and deeply loved by all of his family, friends, and those who had the privilege of working with him in any and every endeavor. Visitation with the family and a celebration service of Owen Kellum's life will be held on Tuesday, May 28, 2013, at Dunwoody United Methodist Church, 1548 Mount Vernon Road, Dunwoody, GA 30338, (770) 394-0675. Visitation will be at 10:00 a.m. in the church parlor, with the body lying in state in the Dunwoody United Methodist Chapel. The service will be at 11:00 a.m., also in the chapel. Immediately following the service, there will be a graveside burial service at Westview Cemetery, 1680 Westview Drive, SW, Atlanta, GA 30310, (404) 755-6611. In lieu of flowers, gifts may be made to the Davidson College Annual Fund - Living Endowment, Box 7170, Davidson, NC 28035-7170, or to the North Georgia United Methodist Conference Stiles Bradley Fund, 4511 Jones Bridge Circle, NW, Norcross, GA 30092.

Published in The Atlanta Journal-Constitution on May 27, 2013
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