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Outpouring of emotions during vigil at BHS for family injured on Highway 2
The melody from “Over the Rainbow” echoed through the parking lot of Bothell High School Friday evening as many wept and held candles for a local family. The outpouring of emotional support was palpable, as nearly 300 people showed up at the vigil to show support for the Owen family of Bothell.
“I don’t know what I’d do without you guys. You guys have been my rock, my foundation,” Jeremy Mathias Owen, 22, told the crowd.
His adoptive parents Timothy Desmond Owen, 58, and Cheryl Janine Reed, 56, were killed Dec. 21 during an accident on Highway 2. Timothy Owen was driving a 1999 Chevrolet Suburban eastbound, about 21 miles west of Leavenworth on Stevens Pass, when a tree fell on the vehicle at approximately 1:20 p.m., according to the Washington State Patrol.
Both Timothy and Cheryl were pronounced dead at the scene.
Jeremy had a message for his parents: “I am going to take care of my sisters. Dad and Mom, I am going to make it. I’m gonna make it for you only. I love you so much.”
The couple’s three adult children and son-in-law, who were passengers in the vehicle, were all injured.
The Owen’s children, Jamie Owen Mayer, 24, and Jessica Janine Owen, 27, along with their son-in-law Steven T. Mayer, 24, are still at Harborview Medical Center with various injuries.
Jeremy Owen was the only family member to be released from medical care.
Posters and cards for each family member were signed by those at the vigil. Many in attendance knew the Owens through their church, community sports and other community events and organizations. A jazz choir, made up of 2003 Bothell High School alumni, sang and a minister led the crowd in prayer for the family.
“The Owen family is well loved,” said family friend Suzanne Beyer. “We’ve known the Owens almost 20 years as our kids went to school together. Jessie and my daughter, Kalisa, were on the same soccer team. Jessie was a phenomenal goalie, diving for that ball at all cost.”
But there has been some hope since the vigil Friday.
“We saw a huge answer to prayer today! Steven has made some major improvements in the past 24 hours and even got his breathing tube out today,” said friend of the family Christy Bellin Jennings on her blog on Monday. “Jessie wore her Mack Strong jersey today to watch the Seahawks game from her room that looks straight down into the stadium.”
The Owens are a multi-cultural family. Beyer said that the Owens adopted Jamie from Asia and Jeremy from Georgia and Cheryl called it their “rainbow family.” Jessie is the Owen’s biological daughter.
“I often think she and Tim are now adopting 20 kids from Newtown, Conn. in heaven,” said Beyer of the recent school shooting. “These parents will always serve their family, their friends, their community.”
Cheryl was very involved in the community and worked as a manager at Amazon. Timothy, an insurance executive, served as a local coach. All the children were very involved in sports, such as soccer, volleyball and horseback riding. Jeremy played for the Bothell High School football team.
The Owen’s daughter Jamie and Steven were married at the Yacht Club in Edmonds nearly two years ago.
“Jaime crocheted her own wedding dress,” Beyer recalled. “Steven was a doll, just perfect for Jaime as they both loved playing online games. Steven was from Canada and as story has it, he came into Cheryl and Tim’s home office and said he wanted to join the family. Tim responded, ‘We’re not adopting any more kids.’”
Donations for the family can be sent to the Owen Mayer Family Relief Fund at 2020 Maltby Road, Suite 7, PMB 298, Bothell, WA 98021. Proceeds will fund the family’s medical expenses. I am going to be a strong man.