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Bess Mae Owens Alston

July 23, 1938 ~ January 3, 2019 (age 80)

Mrs. Bess Alston, age 80, entered eternal rest following a brief, sudden illness on Thursday,
January 3, 2019, at Lexington Medical Center in West Columbia, South Carolina. She was born
July 23, 1938 in Elloree, South Carolina to the late Isaac and Learline Owens. Her parents made
sure all their children knew God and accepted Jesus as their personal Savior. It was from that
foundation her life was built. She was educated in Orangeburg schools and began studying at
South Carolina State College in 1957 after graduating from Wilkinson High School. It was at
South Carolina State College where she met the love of her life, Samuel Alston. They married in
1958. Throughout their marriage, she was a devout Catholic who served as a Rite of Christian
Initiation of Adults (RCIA) sponsor, Eucharistic Minister, and worked with the Women’s Guild,
Campus Ministries, Women’s Prison Ministries, and choir. She studied the Bible daily and
adored Jesus!

Their sixty year marriage began with her supporting her husband during his military service
while stationed together in several states, Germany, and while her husband was sent to Vietnam. Her love for playing Bridge began while being an “Army Wife”. While living in Washington, D.C., she earned a Bachelor’s Degree from the University of the District of Columbia (Federal City College). After returning to Orangeburg, South Carolina with her husband and three children, she earned a Master’s Degree from South Carolina State University
and began teaching in Orangeburg. She was a dedicated Home Economics teacher throughout her career in the Orangeburg, Dorchester, and Richland 1 school systems. She was a Future Homemakers of America (FHA) advisor and loved her students. She also was blessed with an opportunity to help a community establish their school-based, food service program in South Africa shortly after Apartheid ended.

After retiring from teaching, she remained active with various Faith Based Organizations, the
South Carolina Education Association, Habitat for Humanity, and other organizationsd. She
loved playing Bridge, traveling, cooking, and spending quality time with family and friends.

She is preceded in death by her mother, Learline Owens and father, Isaac Owens, Sr.; and her
brother, Isaac Owens, Jr. She leaves to cherish her memory her devoted, loving husband of sixty
years, Samuel Alston; children, Christopher of Atlanta, Ga, Charlene (Ronald), and Joseph (Michelle) of Washington, D.C.: seven grandchildren, Leila, Amal, Aman, Khari, Ronald, Jr., Aidan, and Addison; four siblings, James (Ann) Owens, Dorothy (John) Ritter, Thelma (Hercules) Mayers all of Orangeburg, and Mary
(Leonard) Russ of Charlotte; mother-in-law, Christena Grant of Summerville; sister-in-law,
Jacqueline Owens of Charleston, nieces, nephews, cousins, other family members and countless

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