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The Northwoods River News | Rhinelander, Wisconsin

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February 17, 2020

1/21/2020 7:30:00 AM
John Joseph "Joe" Owens

Owens passed away peacefully on Jan. 16, 2020 at his home in Jackson, Mich. He was born on Feb. 8, 1924, in Rhinelander, the son of John A. Owens and Sarah Owens (Nelson), formerly of New Brunswick, Canada.

Joe spent his summers working with his father at logging camps in the Northwoods prior to his graduation from Rhinelander High School in 1941. Following graduation he attended Marquette University in Milwaukee. While there, he enlisted in the United States Navy Air Corps, achieving the rank of Ensign. He piloted the Corsair, the Navy's top fighter plane. Joe served in the Navy until the end of World War ll and then enrolled in the University of Wisconsin at Madison. He earned a degree in electrical engineering in 1949.

In 1947, he married Betty Mae Koppa, also from Rhinelander. Together they had six children: Patricia, Dennis (Lili Shidlovski), Margaret, James (Mary), Ann (Eric Johnstone) and Kathleen Dantes (Mark Boykins). He is also survived by seven grandchildren: Craig Brown, John Brown, Jacob Louden, Mathew Owens, Christopher Owens, Michelle Daoud and Stephen Owens.

In 1949, Joe moved to Jackson, Mich. and began his electrical engineering career at Commonwealth Engineers. He designed power transmission facilities throughout the United States, South America and Arabia. From 1962 through 1968 he joined the space race working for NASA in northern Ohio. There he designed the Space Tank, a large domed structure simulating the vacuum and radiation conditions of outer space, as well as other test facilities. He then returned to Commonwealth, retiring in 1987. During his post-retirement he consulted with his friend Zorn Novak's fledgling engineering company.

He and Betty enjoyed playing golf and bridge with their friends. As an excellent player, Joe became a Life Master in bridge. They were devoted members of Queens Catholic Church. Joe and Betty traveled extensively until Betty's sudden and untimely death in 1995. Joe married Dorothy Beardsley, a former classmate, in 1999. They resided in Rhinelander during the summers and New Port Richey, Florida during the winter months until her death in 2015. Joe then returned to Jackson, to be near his devoted daughter Margaret (Peggy) and took up residence at Vista Grand Villa, a retirement community until his recent passing

The Mass of Christian Burial will be held on Tuesday, Jan. 21 at 10:30 a.m. at Queen of the Miraculous Medal Catholic Church with Father Timothy MacDonald as the Celebrant. Interment will take place at St. John's Catholic Cemetery.

The family will receive friends at Queen's Church on Tuesday, Jan. 21, before the Mass, from 9:30 to 10:30 a.m.

Reader Comments

Posted: Tuesday, January 21, 2020
Article comment by: Steven Beck

To the Owens Family Sorry to hear that Uncle Joe has passed away. Sue and Steve

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