Alexis Marxmiller Owings
Beloved daughter, activist for human and animal rights
Alexis Marxmiller Owings, a former Claremont resident, died on May 27, 2015. She was 42.
Ms. Owings was born in Upland on July 29, 1972, moving with her family to Claremont when she was 8. She attended Chaparral and Vista elementary schools and El Roble Intermediate School, graduating from Claremont High School in 1990. She attended Humboldt State University and earned a Bachelor of Science degree from University of Phoenix.
She spent several years working for Padua Village, a program through Casa Colina providing long-term assistance for developmentally disabled adults. “She cared very deeply for the residents,” her mother Margaret Winningham said.
Ms. Owings spoke fluent Spanish, loved Mexican and Mediterranean cuisine and especially enjoyed eating at Walter’s Restaurant in Claremont. As young as 14 months of age, her favorite food was spicy homemade enchiladas. She was fascinated by the art of Frida Kahlo, and her mother remembers with fondness the year Alexis showered her with Frida Kahlo and other Mexican art. For Mothers’ Day, she took her mom to a touring exhibition of Frida Kahlo appearing in La Jolla. For her mother’s birthday, Ms. Owings took her to see the film “Frida.” And for Christmas that year, Ms. Owings gave her mother DVDs of “Frida,” “Like Water for Chocolate,” “Real Women Have Curves” and “The Milagro Bean Field War.” All in all, remembers Ms. Winningham, it was a glorious year.
Ms. Owings was committed to preserving the environment and endangered species. She was an outdoors enthusiast who enjoyed backpacking in the Sierras with her father and stepmother. She also enjoyed many sailing trips with them to Catalina.
Ms. Owings will be remembered for her marvelous sense of humor, regaling family and friends with her witticisms and infectious laughter and often sharing work by her favorite cartoonist Gary Larson. She will also be remembered for her caring and compassionate nature. She did not reckon people by their ethnicity, their abilities or their socio-economic status but rather by how kind and compassionate they were toward others, especially those less fortunate. Two of the most memorable events in her life were hearing Nelson Mandela speak in Los Angeles and meeting Archbishop Desmond Tutu at an Episcopal Church conference in Anaheim.
Ms. Owings was especially passionate about the marginalized in our society, particularly veterans, and was very supportive of programs and initiatives providing them with tools to better living. She supported Habitat for Humanity and Heifer International, and was always willing to roll up her shirtsleeves to support politicians she felt were worthy. She volunteered with the 2008 Obama for President Campaign and for Gloria Negrete McLeod’s campaigns for State Assembly and State Senate.
Ms. Owings was also dedicated to helping at-risk animals, both endangered species and the abused animals that end up in shelters across the country. She lent her support to Best Friends Animal Society, Search Dog Foundation, World Wildlife Fund, 96 Elephants and the SPCA.
Ms. Owings is survived by her mother Margaret Winningham of Pomona, by her father and stepmother Tim and Diane Marxmiller of Escondido, by several aunts and uncles and by numerous cousins.
Honoring her commitment to helping humans and animals alike, donations may be made in Ms. Owings’ memory to Search Dog Foundation, a nonprofit pairing rescued dogs with firefighters to find people buried alive in the wreckage of disasters. You can donate via their website at www.searchdogfoundation.org/donate or send checks to The National Search Dog Foundation, 501 E. Ojai Ave., Ojai, CA 93023. Donations should indicate they are in honor of Alexis Megan Owings.
A private remembrance service will be held in the future.