In memoriam: Emeritus missionary Carlos Owens, 88

Carlos Owens

Carlos Owens, an emeritus International Mission Board missionary who shared the gospel among Sub-Saharan African Peoples in Tanzania, died Feb. 9, 2019. He was 88.

Born June 6, 1930, near Eagle Creek in Henry County, he was a son of the late Raymond and Della Nora Rice Owens. He was married to Myrtice Jean Taylor on June 17, 1955, at First Baptist Church in Dunedin, Florida.

He graduated from E. W. Grove High School, Paris, Tenn.; Union University, Jackson, Tenn.; and The Southern Baptist Theological Seminary, Louisville, Ken. He served as pastor of churches in Henry and Stewart Counties. On March 17, 1957, the Owenses were appointed as Southern Baptist missionaries to Tanganyika (now Tanzania), Africa, where they moved with their daughter, Janice, age 10 months.

They spent 36 years in Africa where he did evangelism and church and community development. Owens’ interests, other than church and missions, included writing, hunting, genealogy, gardening and photography. He wrote and published three books on family history and, while in Africa, a book on Parliamentary Procedure in Swahili. He, with Myrtice, published Hands Reaching Out of Darkness about their African missionary experiences. They translated hymns and choruses into Ndonga, the language they used in Namibia, and published a hymnal for use in their churches. After retirement, the Owenses helped to establish the Swahili Baptist Church at Woodmont in Nashville. He was member of the Woodmont Baptist Church.

Owens is survived by his wife of 63 years, Myrtice Jean Taylor Owens; daughters Janice (Roger) Duffy of Nashville, Ruth (James) Alvin of Wheaton, Ill., and Debra (Stan) Owens-Hughes of São Paulo, Brazil; 11 grandchildren; and 11 great grandchildren.

Services were conducted Feb. 14, 2019, at Ridgeway Funeral Home in Paris, Tenn. Burial followed in the Jones Chapel Cemetery. Memorials may be made to the Carlos & Myrtice Owens Fund (a perpetual mission support fund), International Mission Board SBC, P. O. Box 6767, Richmond, VA 23230-3932 or at

Read a full obituary here.