Yvonne Toussaint Owen
Yvonne Toussaint Owen passed away June 30, 2018, surrounded by family. She was 83.
Yvonne was born in 1935 to Alice and Vernon Toussaint in Beaumont, Mississippi. Weighing only two pounds at birth, she was considered a miracle baby. She was eleven years old when her parents moved to Hattiesburg, and she remained here and made lifelong friends.
She attended Mississippi Southern College and pledged Chi Omega Sorority. She met her husband, James Ray Owen there, and they married in 1953 and had three children. In 1986, she lost her husband, and began a catering business to support her family. Her name and talents soon became famous in this area.
Yvonne was a member of Court Street United Methodist Church and served as the church hostess for many years. In 2000, she began her own outreach ministry, picking up neighborhood children and bringing them to church. She was a mentor to many children, teaching them baking, etiquette, and how to set a table. She provided meals to homebound people, at one point preparing 70 meals per day and driving them to those in need of a hot meal and kind word. She supported the Chi Omega Sorority as an alumna volunteer and was always available for advice and assistance to members. She worked with the Diabetes Foundation of Mississippi for many years.
Although she never sought the limelight, Yvonne received community recognition for her work on numerous occasions. She was called a “one-woman evangelism team,” and was given the Harry Denham Evangelism award by the Mississippi Conference of the United Methodist Church in 2005. She was recognized by the Diabetes Foundation for ten years running for her service in the fight against this disease. She was called an “unsung hero” by a local restaurateur/writer, and in the inaugural year of Wesley Medical Center’s Strong Women program she was chosen as the strong woman in the Defender category: “One who champions the cause of a disadvantaged person or group.” It fit her perfectly.
Yvonne was predeceased by her parents, Alice and Vernon Toussaint, her brother, Vernon Toussant, Jr. and her sister, Sandra Schiavone. She is survived by her son, James Ray Owen, Jr., her daughters, Kimberly Owen Melancon, and Russlyn Owen Lewis and Russlyn’s husband, Alan; her brother, Ronald Toussaint; her nephews, Harry Schiavone Jr., Scott Schiavone, Ronald Toussaint, Jr., Millard Toussaint, and Tori Richards; her grandchildren, Trae Bernstein, Taylor Frederic, Brock Melancon, Garrett and Gavin Lewis, and Reid Lewis; and her great-grandchildren, Kamryn, Wil, Alice, Toler and Kenneth.
Visitation will be Thursday, July 5, 2018, from 5:00 p.m. until 7:00 p.m. at Court Street United Methodist Church, 609 Southern Avenue, Hattiesburg; and again at 1:00 p.m. on Friday, July 6, with a funeral service to follow at 2:00 p.m. at the church. Memorials may be made to Court Street UMC.