Bobby Owsley Obituary (2023) – Elizabethtown, KY

Bobby Gene “Bob” Owsley, 91, passed away peacefully Friday, Oct. 13, 2023, at home.

He was born Oct. 12, 1932, in Rineyville, to Bryan and Virginia Vertrees Owsley.

Bob remained in Hardin County his entire life, moving to Cecilia in 1958.

Bob graduated from Rineyville High School in 1950, serving as the senior class president, a member of the basketball team, and president of Future Farmers of America. He was so proud to be a Rineyville Red Devil for 12 years and remained actively involved in the Rineyville Alumni Association.

After high school, Bob enrolled at Western Kentucky University, however he came home because he was drafted into the U.S. Army. He served at Fort Knox for two years as an armor instructor with the 3rd Armored Division. He married Martha Jean Givan Owsley on June 13, 1954, while he still was serving in the Army. When he finished his service, he enrolled at Bowling Green Business University to finish his degree in 1958.

He began a lifelong career at The Cecilian Bank in September 1958, where he held every position from filing canceled checks to serving as the chairman of the board. He still was serving as chairman at his death. Bob never met a stranger and could connect a grandparent, aunt, uncle or sibling to almost anyone he talked to. He always was available for his customers, many times after hours and on weekends. Many have called him “Mr. Cecilian Bank,” which seems fitting for someone who dedicated 65 years of his life to the same organization. He graduated from the LSU School of Banking of the South in 1968, taking his two weeks of vacation each summer for three years and completing homework during the year.

In addition to his banking career, he served the community in many different organizations, including serving as president of Hardin County Chamber of Commerce, director of Hardin County Education Foundation, director of Heartland Community Foundation, member of the Patton Museum Board and member of the WKU National Alumni Board. Bob also was a founding member of the Cecilia Ruritan Club. He received many accolades over the years, but he was especially proud of his induction into the North Hardin Athletic Hall of Fame as a Rineyville High School alumnus and the Farm Bureau Distinguished Service to Agriculture award. Bob was a faithful member of Cecilia Baptist Church for 65 years, serving as a deacon, Sunday school teacher and nursery worker.

He was well known for his love of knives and trains. Bob sold knives in the sixth grade that he and his friend Charles Shelton purchased at Belknap in Louisville. He used the money he made to purchase sheep. By the time he went to college, he had 200 sheep. He contacted the Illinois Central Railroad once they decided to stop using a caboose on the tracks to let them know he would gladly take one off their hands. Years later a caboose was delivered and remains by the Cecilia office of The Cecilian Bank.

Bob loved his family, his church, The Cecilian Bank, and the community. He showed that love by serving others and attending as many activities as he could fit in his schedule. He especially loved attending school and church programs, birthday parties and ballgames that involved his grandkids and great-grandkids.

He was preceded in death by his parents; his wife, Martha Jean Givan Owsley; his brother, David Owsley; his three sisters, Betty Shipley, Sue Henderson, and Elizabeth Owsley (infant); his three brothers-in-law, Bill Chester, Walter Shipley and Marion Henderson; his two sisters-in-law, Iva Lee Owsley and Mary Lou Givan Chester; his son-in-law, Danny Allen; and his nephew, Pat Owsley.

Bob is survived by his two daughters, Lou Ann Allen and Laura Owsley, both of Cecilia; his grandchildren, Matthew (Beth) Allen of Louisville, and Jenna (Jon) Colson of Cecilia; his five great-grandchildren, Jase, Lucy, Clay, Annelise and Lily; and several nieces and nephews.

The funeral is at 11 a.m. Saturday, Oct. 21, at Cecilia Baptist Church, 416 East Main Street in Cecilia with the Rev. Donnie Davis officiating. Burial follows in Elizabethtown Memorial Gardens.

Visitation is from 2 to 8 p.m. Friday and continues from 9 to 11 a.m. Saturday at the church.

Expressions of sympathy may be made to Cecilia Baptist Church building fund, 416 East Main Street, Cecilia, KY 42724.

Published by The News-Enterprise from Oct. 16 to Oct. 22, 2023.

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