'She caught my heart'
When 14-year-old Jane Brown hopped on the back of Owen Mather’s Harley [Davidson motorcycle], she unknowingly rode right into their future. He received two traffic tickets that evening, one for running a stop sign and one for not having a motorcycle license. Jane was not deterred.
At home on leave from the U.S. Navy, Mather was pleasantly surprised to see that Jane had blossomed into a beautiful young woman. Their families were close, both singing gospel music as family ministries. Sometimes they sang together.
Asked when he knew she was “the one,” he laughed and said there was never a question. “She caught my heart,” he said with a big grin.
Jane and Mather were married at the Lake Worth Methodist Church by his uncle, the pastor, on July 13, 1953.
Jane moved in with his parents and he returned to the Navy until May of 1954 when he returned home for good. The young couple set up housekeeping as he began his educational journey, first by earning his GED and then a BBA at North Texas State University in Denton. He went on to earn a Master of Divinity at SMU’s Perkins School of Theology.
After seminary, he became a chaplain at Gatesville School for Boys. Jane also returned to school, earning a bachelor’s degree in teaching from Midwestern State University in Wichita Falls. She taught school for 27 years, retiring from Hughes Middle School in 1996.
Mather’s passion is helping young people with mental illness, serving his residency for Clinical Pastoral Education at the Austin State Hospital.
Currently, he is on the counseling staff at Pathway Church.
Their devotion and affection for each other is palpable as they easily defer one to the other as we visited. Theirs is a powerful bond, centered in their faith and commitment to the Lord. Their ever-growing family is their joy as they both serve in many capacities at Pathway Church, where their son, Rick is senior pastor. They have three daughters, Karen, Brenda and Glenda. Karen is the only sibling not in Burleson, but lives with her family in Wichita Falls. Jane and Mather have 10 grandchildren and four great grandchildren.
“He’s a very compassionate man, a great encourager,” Jane said of her husband. “He is so special and a terrific father.”
Mather’s assessment of his wife is just as endearing.
“Her smile is contagious and she has such an inner beauty, I just enjoy looking at her.”
“He affirms me,” Jane smiled.
“I want her to know, above all, that she is loved,” Mather smiled back at her.