Mary Muntean said she was always certain of one thing when it came to her son, Timothy Owens. It’s something she will remember forever.
”He definitely loved his mother,” said the Effingham resident. “Whenever he talked to me on the phone, he didn’t say ‘mom,’ he said ‘mommy.’”
Owens, a counselor at Fort Hood, was one of three individuals killed in a shooting Wednesday. The 37-year-old was shot once in the chest and was found with no pulse when paramedics reached the scene. Muntean got the call about the loss of her son late Wednesday from Owens’ wife of only six months, Billie.
“It’s too much,” she said.
Owens lived throughout the Effingham area with his mother after his father died when he was nine months old, attending Southside School as a child before moving to Rolla, Mo., and coming back to attend Stewardson-Strasburg High School for a time as a teenager. He worked a variety of jobs, usually with family and friends, before deciding he wanted to join the Army. Muntean said she remembered a late night phone call from her son in 2004, telling her that he had signed up for the service.
“There was nothing for him here,” she said. “He told me he had signed up and that was it.”
Owens served in Iraq and Kuwait, working with armored divisions and the infantry. His cousin Glen Welton, of Charleston, said Owens knew the mental toll many soldiers faced in the wars in the Middle East and wanted to be able to help any way he could.
“He knew that soldiers were going through some bad stuff,” Welton said. “He was very devout in what he was doing in the military. He was very dedicated and he was continuing to be dedicated. He was trying to do as much good as he could.”
Muntean remembers visiting Fort Hood and walking through the facility where her son worked, seeing every nook and cranny of the place where he made a difference. She spoke with him for the last time on Sunday, while driving home from a reunion with her daughter, Terry Miller of Indianapolis, whom she had given up for adoption.
“He just wanted to check on me,” she said. “We talked on the phone at least every other day.”
Miller only had one call with the brother she met for the first time. She said she received a powerful portrait of her brother in one conversation.
“We had a really good talk and we got to laugh,” she said. “I could tell he was such a wonderful person and I wish I could have met him in person. I would have loved to be able to hug him at least once in person.”
Jackson Adams can be reached at 217-347-7151, ext. 131, at email@example.com, or on Twitter @EDNJAdams.