Our mother, grandmother, and great grandmother, Alene Owens Workman, of Rankin, Texas, departed this life to rejoin her husband at the gates of heaven on September 16, 2013.
Alene was born in Barnhart on September 4, 1918, to S. M. (Mitch) Owens and Belle Moore Owens, who were pioneer ranchers in Upton County. After first attending school in a small schoolhouse on the ranch with a governess as the teacher, Alene later spent her childhood school days in Barnhart with weekends and holidays at the ranch near Rankin. She and her twin brother, Al, spent many hours of their youth playing and exploring the hillsides and canyons. When they were older, however, Alene recalled that there were six gates to be opened and closed before reaching the highway on a Saturday night drive into Rankin for some social life. Al drove, and Alene got out and opened all the gates! She graduated from Barnhart High School, where she excelled in athletics including basketball and tennis.
In Rankin, Alene met her one true love, Tommy Workman, and they were married on December 13, 1941 in Rocksprings. In mid-1942, Tommy enlisted in the U.S. Army Air Corps, and the war years which followed were extremely trying times for this newlywed couple, as they were for so many others. Darlene, their first daughter was born in 1943, and Alene and Darlene bravely went to live near the places Tommy was stationed when possible, including Carlsbad, New Mexico, and Fresno and Bakersfield, California. But then came the news that Tommy was being sent for duty overseas. Alene and Darlene came home to the ranch to endure the difficult waiting until Tommy's safe return from the war. Shortly after his return, the family decided to make the ranch their permanent home.
In 1953, their second daughter, Marilyn was born. The late fifties were difficult years for ranchers in the area. Persistent drought caused ranchers to search for additional means to support their families. Tommy and Alene went into the "egg business." They had 1,500 caged hens to care for, but plenty of eggs for sale in local grocery stores. Alene's duties besides home and family included the hen house and the school route, as there was no school bus for that area. After over twenty years of service hauling daughters back and forth to town for school and social activities, Alene retired as chauffeur in 1972 when the family moved to town, building their new home in Rankin. Although Alene loved her new home and the convenience of living in town, she relished the almost daily trips out to the ranch to work, feed livestock, and check waters. She was a rancher through and through, and as one might expect from a strong-willed ranch woman, Alene maintained her passion for ranching until her death.
Alene was devoted to her family, her church, and her community. She and Tommy enjoyed over 63 years of marriage until his death in 2005. Her pride and joy were her five grandsons. She was an avid supporter of each of them in all their activities, spending countless hours enjoying their football games and other sports and school events throughout the years. She took such pride in all their accomplishments and in her great grandchildren, as well.
As a dedicated member of the First United Methodist Church of Rankin, Alene served faithfully on the Parsonage Committee for many years, much of that time as Chairperson. She supervised so many remodeling and redecorating projects to make the parsonage a welcoming home for each newly assigned pastor. She was also well known for her delicious pot roasts at each church social event.
Alene was a great supporter of the Rankin Red Devils and Rankin ISD. She loved attending any sports events and one act play competitions through the years. She served on the PTA and helped sponsor many school activities, including band trips and science field trips. Alene also supported the Upton County 4-H Club, the Upton County Junior Livestock Show, and the All Kid Rodeo. She was a member of Beta Sigma Phi sorority and Rankin's Ceramic Club, where she learned to craft many beautiful heirlooms for friends and family.
Alene was preceded in death by her husband, her parents, her brother, Al Owens, her sisters, Lola Belle Weatherby and Lucille Barr, and a daughter and son-in-law, Darlene Workman McAden and Bobby McAden. She is survived by her daughter and son-in-law, Marilyn and Mike Ratliff of Rankin, her brother-in-law and sister-in-law, Jim and Judye Workman of Englewood, Colorado, five grandsons, Tommy McAden and wife Lisa, Jim Bob McAden and wife Rachael, Clayton Ratliff, Dustin Ratliff, and Jay Tom Ratliff and wife Chelsea, five great grandchildren, and several nieces, nephews, and cousins.
Services for Alene will be conducted on Friday, September 20th, at 11:00 a.m., at the First United Methodist Church of Rankin by the Reverend Jennifer Kelley. Arrangements are under the direction of the Shaffer-Nichols Funeral Home in Crane. Pallbearers will include the five grandsons and Tom Bloxom. Honorary pallbearers include Pete Golson, Tommy Owens, Bud Poage, Sammy Hooper, and Juan Armendarez.
The family wishes to express special thanks to the employees of the McCamey Convalescent Center for their excellent care, kindness, and compassion toward Alene during the past months.
If desired, memorials may be given to the First United Methodist Church of Rankin or the Rankin Cemetery Association.