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He encouraged others to be excellent': Ex-lawmaker Darryl Owens remembered by family, friends

The funeral of the former state representative brought out political leaders and those who he mentored throughout the community.

LOUISVILLE, Ky. — Friends and family gathered at St. Stephen Church to honor a many they called a giant – not only in politics, but in his community.

Former State Representative Darryl T. Owens was known for his passion for a better tomorrow.

“He was in a hurry to do good,” Kentucky Court of Appeals and former Jefferson Circuit Court Judge Irv Maze said.

Owens had many accomplishments including president of the Louisville chapter of the NAACP, a juvenile judge, the first Black president of the Legal Aid Society and the Jefferson County Commissioner.

He was also the first Black candidate to be elected to the Jefferson County Fiscal Court where he served 21 years.

From Gov. Andy Beshear, Mayor Greg Fischer to state lawmakers, they all shared moments about Owens and the lives he impacted.

“The things that make him so beloved, they’re the same. They’re the exact same things that made him a phenomenal father,” his daughter Deborah Owens expressed.

Owens daughter Dedra also shared how he mentored and helped others.

"He didn't stop at being excellent for himself, but he encouraged others to be excellent,” she said. "I just want to encourage all of us. To not make Black excellence something that we strive for, but let’s make that our starting point. Let’s make that where we start from because that is what my father taught us."

Even though Owens is no longer here, his friends and family said his vision for a better tomorrow is still alive.

"As we celebrate Darryl's victories and accomplishments there is still work that remain that must be done," Raoul Cunningham, NAACP president Louisville branch, said.

Gov. Andy Beshear also honored the life of Owens with flags lowered to half-staff at state buildings. 

Contact reporter Gabrielle Harmon at GHarmon@whas11.com or on Facebook or Twitter.

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