Life story of young woman with Cystic Fibrosis is a feel-good book

Published 3:46 pm Monday, August 26, 2013

By SHELBA NIVENS / Community Columnist

“Tara’s story is not sad. It makes you feel good,” Gail Joseph Owen was speaking of her book Tara, The Place of Irish Kings, about her daughter who was born with cystic fibrosis (CF) and died at the age of 28.

“Tara loved life and loved helping people,” Gail said. “My daddy called her Sunshine.”

Gail Joseph Owen at the family farm where her daughter Tara grew up and called “The Place Fit for Irish Kings.” (contributed)

Gail Joseph Owen at the family farm where her daughter Tara grew up and called “The Place Fit for Irish Kings.” (contributed)

Much of the book comes from the journals of Tara, who aspired to be a writer and write her own book, but did not live to write it. So, with the help of a gifted, published author Vanessa Davis Griggs, her mother put together the book, augmented by reminiscences of family and friends.

“I did the book,” Gail told me, “because I wanted people to be more aware of Cystic Fibrosis and what people go through daily with the disease.”

Despite many painful stays in the hospital, Tara attended college and lived on campus. She enjoyed a part-time job and traveling. Her writings describe many places she visited abroad.

Tara shared joys and heartbreaks of romance and fun with friends, many with CF. She wrote about love for her grandfather Lewis Joseph, who purchased with a bank loan, 300-plus acres on which he began the family farm, and later started a successful sawmill and lumber business, after years of carrying a little “peckerwood” sawmill to job locations.

After the release of Tara, the family heard from people across the U.S. and abroad, who read the book and were blessed by it. Many people sent donations, which were placed in the Tara Owen Foundation, a scholarship trust fund at the University of Montevallo.

Funds are sufficient, Gail said, that it is set up in perpetuity.

Tara was chosen for display at BookExpo of America 2008 in Los Angeles. It has been on Best Sellers list for Independent Publishers, and was reviewed in the Spring 2009 CF Roundtable by the Director of the United States Adult Fibrosis Association, Inc .

Contact Gail Owen at

Tara, paperback and Kindle, by Gail Joseph Owen may be purchased through