Lyla Owens: Resident Since 1979

Written by Jan Graindorge.

Several months ago I heard that Lyla Owens (and family) have lived in Seven Lakes since 1979!  It just surprised me, so I called Lyla and asked if she would tell me more.

Lyla was born and raised in Charleston, S.C.  She met an Army man – Roger Owens.  They dated for two years and married shortly after graduation.  She began marriage as Navy wife, while Roger served in Vietnam, was stationed at Ft. Bragg, Okanawa and Anderson, Guam. 

The Owens eventually relocated near Robbins, NC, where Roger began his teaching career at West Montgomery High School (Roger taught from1980 until his death in 2002).  Lyla was working at Ithaca Hosery and it was a coworker from Millican textiles who told the Owens to look at a new development in West End named Seven Lakes.  They bought a new house where she still lives. 

There were only two other homes within neighborly distance in 1979  – the blue house on the lake and a yellow one on Edgewood.  And along came the baby carriage – first born was Lyla, then Luke and Sherryl.  Also arriving during those busy years the in-laws!! Harold and Mildred Owens moved across from Roger and Lyla and then Aunt Elizabeth Owens also relocated to the end of Roundtree Road

Lyla has so many memories and impressions of the early Seven Lakes.  The clubhouse and pool were already here. The kids had freedom and woods to run, with her biggest concern that they only swim in the lake if she was watching.

Seven Lakes was originally planned to be a “retirement community”.  WEE went to 8th grade and there was a waiting list for students. The West End elementary became filled to capacity with new families flocking to the new homes.  The school brought in trailers, added the new addition, and now once again has brought in more trailers.   During those busy busy years Lyla started work at Stanley Furniture on the 7:00-3:30 shift.  Lots of hard work but she says she loved it.  And directly after work her car-pooling day would begin with all three kids in sports.

Lyla is one of the lucky ones, she knows so many people “outside” of Seven Lakes.  Picking her memories – In West End the current antique store was our Post Office and there was a grocery store, a Stanley Furniture outlet and also a karate studio. In Seven Lakes the First Bank was originally the Bank of Montgomery, there was a pharmacy in the H&R Block building, the IGA grocery was the original tenant of Phoenix Fashion and where Lee Moore is now  used to be the Full Moon Saloon with a dance floor.  I never knew any of this.

Today Lyla has four grandchildren in Colorado.  She and one of her sisters do a lot of driving.  One of Lyla’s biggest fun things to do is travel to different National Parks.  In 2016 they went to the 100th anniversary of the National Park founding and stopped at about 30 parks, in 2017 on the way to Minnesota they stayed in 10 parks and in 2018 on the way to Colorado they stopped at Mt. Rushmore, and South Dakota to add another 15 Parks to her list.  She still has the entire northeast to visit. With her sister they attend various Army reunions and visit a variety of battlefields and state parks.

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