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Owana Kaye McLester-Greenfield
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Obituary for Owana Kaye McLester-Greenfield

Dr. Owana Kaye McLester-Greenfield, the daughter of Ray and Grace McLester, was born on December 12, 1948 in Rockford, Illinois. She graduated from Rockford East High School in 1966 and went on to Western Illinois University where she majored in English and received her Bachelor's degree in 1970 and her Master's degree in 1972. At Western she was the president of Alpha Sigma Alpha sorority and the University's 1970 "Woman of the Year." She received her Doctor of Arts degree in English from Drake University in 1978. While at Drake she was the Head Resident of Morehouse Dormitory and the Assistant Director of the Placement Office.
Owana loved to learn. Her love of learning grew from her passion for literature, especially that of Thomas Pynchon and William Faulkner. Through her passion she became an outstanding educator. She taught at Des Moines Area Community College, Simpson College, and Drake University. Owana won teaching awards at both DMACC and Simpson. Based on recommendations from her students, in 1984 the University of Iowa presented her with the "Distinguished Teacher of Iowa" award. Owana's love of literature, her outgoing personality, and her exemplary presentation skills endeared her to her students.
In 1990, Owana started her own business, Mastery Company. Through Mastery, Owana provided corporate communications training to businesses large and small. She ultimately developed over forty different seminars on various communication topics. Always in demand, she traveled throughout the Midwest and to both coasts for her seminars. An outstanding public speaker, she delivered many "key note" addresses.
Always the ultimate hostess, Owana loved to entertain. To her nothing was better than a house full of friends, the juke box playing songs from the 60's and 70's, and a dining room table covered with hors d'oeuvres. Her favorite night out was at the theater, and she attended plays at all Des Moines' theatrical venues. Especially meaningful to Owana were her trips to Europe where she visited the birthplaces and homes of many of the great authors, numerous art museums, and many historical sights.
Owana passed away on May 15, 2017, at Kavanagh Hospice House in Des Moines. Those left to honor her memory include her husband of forty-one years, James Greenfield of Des Moines, and six siblings. Her family includes sisters Cynthia Nyquist and Laura Hanson of Rockford, Illinois, and brothers, Michael, Timothy (Tamara), and Todd McLester of Rockford, Illinois and Rand McLester of Butte, Montana. In addition, a score of nieces and nephews mourn her passing. She was preceded in death by her parents and her sister Sean McLester.
A celebration of Owana's life will be held on Friday, June 2, 2017, at 7:00 pm at St. Catherine of Siena Church, 1150-28th Street in Des Moines. In lieu of flowers, memorials may be made to the Adult Literacy Center at Drake University, 3206 University Avenue, Des Moines, IA 50311 or The Des Moines Public School Foundation, 2323 Grand Avenue, Des Moines, IA 50312.

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7:00 PM
St. Catherine of Siena Catholic Church

1150 28th Street
Des Moines, Iowa 50311


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