Profile: Person of the Year Robby Owens


Robby, who has been a district attorney for 31 years, tentatively plans to retire in October 2014. He hopes Gov. Robert Bentley will appoint Lee as his replacement, and is marshaling support for her to make that transition.

When he retires, he plans to continue facilitating grief support groups. He keeps in touch with his own group members, and sometimes has them over to share meals together.

He also plans to do some sojourning, in which he travels to smaller churches to lead classes or speak about his own experience with faith. About 10 years ago, he took night classes at Southern Christian University in Montgomery to get a master’s degree in Christian ministry, and he uses the knowledge gained in those classes when he sojourns.

“That was one of the things that helped me survive — strong faith. I don’t know how people survive without faith,” Robby said.

He also plans to go camping more with Karen, and hopes to travel across the United States. Lately, he’s become interested in making music — especially country music — and is taking guitar and piano lessons.

He’ll likely also continue making frequent trips to Disney World — at last count, he had been there more than 20 times — which has continued to be a favorite vacation destination for his children and grandchildren.

Robby said as he ages, he continues to learn a lot about himself.

“One of the things that you get is starting to look inside yourself and see who you are and what really matters to you. One of the things I’ve found out about myself is that the things that matter to me are the things that have always mattered to me,” such as faith, truth, honesty and integrity, he said.

Professionally, he’s tried to create a district attorney’s office that’s ruled by fairness and compassion — a legacy he hopes will endure for years to come.

“The most important thing I’ve done with my life so far is raise Christian children and have a Christian wife,” he said. “Otherwise, the most important thing I’ve done with my life is try to use the district attorney’s office to help people. I’ve tried to create an office that is responsive to law enforcement and victims, but at the same time tries to understand the circumstances surrounding people who make mistakes.”