Educator and progressive activist Ethel Werfel Owens, 97, died on October 27, 2020 in Montclair, NJ.
White, Jewish and from Brooklyn, Ethel married a Black man from Memphis whom she met while teaching at Morehouse College. A graduate of Abraham Lincoln High School, Brooklyn College and the University of Chicago, Ethel became a gifted teacher and an evangelist for artistic sensibility and critical thinking as foundations for the nurturing of humanity and democracy. Morehouse students included future Atlanta Mayor Maynard Jackson, Marxist scholar Finley Campell, New York Met Donn Clendenon, and future husband, Congressman Major Owens (D-NY). In New York, Ethel also taught at NYU Adult Education, Marymount Manhattan College, and Medgar Evers College.
Ethel was predeceased by her former husband (they were divorced). She is mourned by her sons, Christopher, Geoffrey and Millard and their families, including four grandchildren, as well as friends and former students. The family encourages everyone to visit www.ethelwerfelowens.net.
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