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ETHEL'S 100TH BIRTHDAY . 5/14/23 .

On this Mother's Day, our mother would have celebrated a special birthday. 

We salute her memory and her legacy, and thank you for joining us in this space. 

And may you experience a most special Mother's Day as well!

From Geoffrey Owens:  


Mom would have been 100 years old today.

In the last few years that she was fully with us -- perhaps from when she was 92 to 95 or so -- we used to read together.  To be more accurate, I would read out loud and she would listen. 

At first we read selected poems and discussed them.  Then we graduated to novels. 

It's difficult to believe it now, but we read at least four novels together,

including "Ulysses" and the 'Swann's Way' section of "Remembrance of Things Past."

Mom's comprehension of these works was impressive, to say the least.  Perhaps -- to pat my own back a little -- I was a good reader; certainly she was an excellent listener.

The comments she'd make and questions she'd ask exhibited an insight into literature and the human condition that was astonishing. 

A bit later, when I would visit her at the nursing home, I'd sometimes do one or two of the Shakespeare soliloquies I was working on for the one-man show I was developing.

Once, I did "To be or not to be..." 

She said "Good ... but pause a bit more after 'About, my brain.'" 

She was right. 

On the day she died, I read Dylan Thomas's poem "Fern Hill" to her.

I think she heard me. I hope so.


From Millard Owens:  

For Mom - on a special birthday 

I'll forego sentiment.

I miss your fighting spirit, Mom.

The explicit linkage of your artistic sensibility 

applied incisively to our civics.

Finding in brushstroke and line, polymeter and dissonance,


Calling out truth -

"some shit I will not eat" -

whether Democratic spinelessness or Israeli apartheid.

You're missed daily by us

and by the void of mindless materialism, marching towards the cliff.

We're trying, Mom.

Trying to uplift the beauty, 

the joy,

affirming life 

for which you, despite all your imperfections, stood fast. 

Happy 100th, you stubborn Taurus! 


Note: the above quotation

is from one of Mom's favorite poems -

of heroism in the face of injustice.

My brother Geoff wonderfully cited it

in his beautiful tribute to Mom

at our small family service in October of 2020.


From Chris Owens:   

My Mother, Ethel ...

My youngest brother, Mitty, created the most appropriate quote when, during my brother Geoffrey's wedding a few decades ago, he acknowledged my mother's uniqueness: 

"They could not break the mold; there was no mold!"

Here on this website, you can learn much about our Ethel and get a sense of

her intensity, high standards, and love.  Mom loved fiercely.

She would also be most unhappy with the state of our nation and the

state of the world right now.  Mom would be ready to keep fighting the fascists!

Through my mother, I came to see and appreciate purposeful women from all walks of life

(though, of course, they do not always agree on everything). 

Accordingly, during 2022 I was pleased to release a video dedicated to my late mother,

my late wife and strong women everywhere --

a video built on a song I wrote some 40 years ago (1983) with the help of my brothers,

"If A Woman Had Made The World."  Enjoy!

Click below to watch the video!

Ethel Werfel Owens 100th Birthday: About
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