Isaiah Owens is a rare and unique individual, who at the age of five possessed a childish curiosity about funerals. Young Isaiah would regularly have funerals to bury the dead animals on the farm he grew up on in Branchville, South Carolina. Isaiah would hook up horse and buggy, with the aid of his beloved Aunt Eugenia, and represent the funeral cortege. Isaiah stated, “I would assimilate all of the funerals that I attended and carry out each detail with my deceased animals which included preaching the funeral.”
Isaiah is the eighth child born to Mrs. Willie Mae Owens and the late Mr. Clifton Owens, Sr. He was born in Branchville, South Carolina where he completed his primary education in the Lockett County School District. Upon graduating from Lockett High School, Isaiah followed his dream and became a licensed Funeral Director. He is a 1969 graduate of American Academy McAllister Institute of Funeral Service.
With thirty-one years of funeral service experience, the road has been a bumpy one, but Isaiah has nevertheless maintained his commitment to the industry. Isaiah is the manager and owner of ISAIAH OWENS FUNERAL SERVICE, which is located at 216 Lenox Avenue (Malcolm X Boulevard), New York, New York. Isaiah is a master as his craft and, in fact, “Where Beauty Softens Your Grief” is he signature. In addition to being a superb embalmer and restorative artist, Isaiah is a generous, sensitive human being who is politically correct in a not so politically correct world. He is a man where gender and race are never an issue to him, a man of vision affectionately known to some as The Prophet.
Isaiah’s vision became clear to those who are unfamiliar with him, when young John F. Kennedy. Jr., his wife and sister-in-law, met their untimely death. It was a tragedy to the families as well as to the residents of New York City where the Kennedys resided. It was Isaiah who held a memorial service for the Kennedys in his chapel and placed a register book outside of his Harlem based funeral home that gave members of the Harlem community an opportunity to express their condolences to the Kennedy Family. The memorial service received live coverage on CNN.
Isaiah had no idea of the outpouring of individuals who would come from all over the world to sign the book. In excess of thirty books were signed that included comforting words to the bereaved family members. Out of the heart-warming tributes paid to the deceased, fellow New Yorkers, Isaiah’s “A Time for Healing” crusade was organized.
Isaiah has earned a number of awards for his outstanding contributions to the community: The Children of Gwendolyn Bland Day Care, presented by the Office of the President of the Borough of Manhattan, C. Virginia Fields, Sardis Baptist Church presented him with an award signed by New York’s Mayor Giuliani, to name a few. Plaques of appreciation line the walls of his establishment. The most recent was received from his peers at the First District of the National Funeral Directors and Morticians Association.
Isaiah is an unsung hero who is humble and always willing to give of his time and talent. He is married to Lillie Owens and they have six children.
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