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Kathy G. OWENS

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Kathy G. OWENS Obituary
HAMPTON - Kathy Gear Owens, 52, died on Feb. 19, 2011.
Kathy was born on May 5, 1958, in Hampton, Va., to Anna S. and Thomas J. Gear. She graduated from Kecoughtan High School with highest honors and she received her Bachelor of Arts, cum laude, from the University of Richmond. She earned her Juris Doctor from the Marshall-Wythe School of Law at the College of William Mary.
In 1983 Kathy began her law career as an associate attorney with John Ward Bane, Esq. She was the first woman to practice law in the City of Hampton, paving the way for a new generation of female attorneys. She quickly earned the respect of her peers.
In 1987 Kathy established her own law practice. She passionately represented thousands of clients until she retired from private practice in 2007. In addition to maintaining her law practice, from 1994 to 2001 Kathy served as a substitute judge in the 8th Judicial District. In 1997 she was appointed a Commissioner in Chancery, also in the 8th Judicial District. In 2009 Kathy accepted a position with the Commonwealth of Virginia as a Magistrate Advisor under the Office of the Executive Secretary for the Supreme Court of Virginia. She continued in that capacity until the time of her death.
Kathy was a member of many organizations, including the Virginia State Bar, the American Bar Association, the Hampton Bar Association for whom she served as a member of the Board of Directors, the Peninsula Domestic Relations Bar Association and the American Inns of Court, XXVII. She was a regular speaker and lecturer on issues related to family law, domestic violence and military retirement benefits. She was also a life member of American Legion Auxiliary unit 48.
From the time she was young, Kathy dedicated herself to helping her community. As a high school junior, Kathy was selected for Girls State/Girls Nation and she continued as a Girls State counselor and speaker for many years. Passionate about children's issues, Kathy was on the Board of Directors of Achievable Dream and she was active in the Hampton Child Protection Team, the Downtown Hampton Child Development Center, the York County Schools Student Mentor Program, the Hampton Youth Court program and she acted as an attorney/coach for the YMCA High School Model Judiciary Program.
Kathy was devoted to the revitalization of the Phoebus community. A little known fact, Kathy was crowned Miss Phoebus in 1975. She later became a member of the Phoebus Civic Association, serving as President from 1997 – 1999. She also served as the Treasurer of the Phoebus Days Committee for 15 years.
Kathy was preceded in her death by her father, Thomas J. Gear.
She is survived by her husband, William "Billy" Thomas; daughter, Claire E. Owens; mother, Anna S. Gear; grandmother, Anna E. Sanders; brother, Thomas D. Gear and his wife, Janice, brother, Donald A. Gear and his wife, Lee. She is also survived by brother-in-law, Samuel L. Thomas Jr. and his wife, Kathy and brother-in-law, John E. Thomas and his wife, Nina.
In accordance with Kathy's wishes, a brief memorial service will begin at 6 p.m. Wednesday, Feb. 23, 2011, followed by a "celebration of Kathy's life", for family and friends to be held at the Phoebus American Legion Post 48, 221 E. Mellen St., Hampton, VA 2011, until 9 p.m.
Memorial donations may be sent to either The American Legion Girls State Program, 202 N. Willard Ave., Hampton 23663 or The Phoebus Days Committee, 35 E. Mellen St., Hampton, VA 23663.
Arrangements by R. Hayden Smith Funeral Home. View and post condolences on our online guestbook at dailypress.com/guestbooks.

Published in Daily Press from Feb. 21 to Feb. 22, 2011
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