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I just wanted to say how grateful I am to have met most of my family after so many years.It was a blessing to me.It was like I knew them forever.LeRoy was a kind-hearted,friendly,funny,talented man and he knew how to make everyone feel welcomed.I wish I had gotten to know him more,but the two times I did was just enough to have got to know more of him.I'm very grateful for that.My Thoughts and Prayers go out to EVERYONE. Especially Mary Jo.It isn't easy losing loved ones.I know. Just keep holding on and God will give you the strenghth to keep going.I miss you'll and hope to meet up with you'll again soon. Love Always,Amanda

I met Dr. LeRoy Owens through his son, Daniel after we met at University. I was impressed with his kindness and sense of humor. He was smart and relevant. He made such a contribution to the world. He will be missed. I shall pray for him and for his family.

February 27, 2009 Our thoughts and prayers are with you in your time of grief. May your memories bring you comfort. ~ Harry & Georgene Olsen, Lebanon, Oregon

February 27, 2009 May your hearts soon be filled with wonderful memories of joyful times together as you celebrate a life well lived. ~ Mary Janet Belles, Boise, Idaho

February 27, 2009 Mary Jo and family, our hearts ache for you even as we cherish all the good memories of LeRoy. Much love and many hugs. ~ Ruth & Hugo Halpert, Surprise, Arizona

I only spoke to Leroy once,although I had seen him alot around OLLI. We spoke on Feb 19 at the start of our class on "Ethics". Leroy spoke to me first,as I was day dreaming waiting for class to start. We had a short but sweet conversation in which he described himself as a "school superintendent". He proudly said that his wife was across the courtyard at another OLLI class. He spoke about his children and how happy he was that 3 of the 4 lived in the area and that he took great pleasure in being around them. Looking back on this now,I remember thinking what a nice person he was and I looked forward to talking to him again. I missed him at the next class on the 26th and was suprised to see in the paper that he had died on the 21st. I attended his funeral and was very touched by the lovely tribute that was dedicated to him. It struck me during the service that he was way more that just a "school superintendent". "No flower ever blossoms forever,but some are so lovely that they are never forgotten". I pray God blesses you all in your sorrow and grief. I found the experience of being at your church very touching. It was my first time at a Unitarian Church and I was impressed by the peaceful and loving feel to it. Terry Waters

This was Dad's poem that I was honored to read at the Memorial Celebration: Posterity Swift fly the moments of time, held only by a passing thought – Forgotten soon in the mist of forever, leaving only an indelible trace of feeling. What was important dims in the continuing progression, held forever in the archives of what used to be, a part of the past, and a heritage for the future. Our eternity is held within us, even as we hold on, and the past, as part of us, continues forever. Take solace, my friend, in the pleasant memories, for they belong and are a part of you. In sharing your memories, you offer others a taste of eternity, for a thought once expressed belongs as well to those who listen. Even as we struggle for meaning in life, we live it, Producing our own measure of posterity, A real person touches the lives of others, and in passing remains a part of them. Who then can say that life begins and ends? The essence of what we are continues in the minds and hearts of others. Rejoice, for a person worth remembering continues to live, embraced in the thoughts of others, a part of them. There is no greater posterity than to become a part of those we love. - LeRoy Owens, 1965 Written at the passing of a young daughter of family friends.

It was a good day back in the 1950's when my sister Mary Jo and Leroy decided to get married. My brother and I recall that Leroy was by far the best choice of the potential brother-in-laws whom we had "reviewed"! Over the years that has more than proven to be true. Diana and I are fortunate to have such a wonderful collection of memories of Leroy, Mary Jo and the four D's having lived close by in Oregon over the years. Many happy times, get-togethers and various experiences with our families remain vivid in our minds. When one reviews Leroy's many accomplishments in his life, the talents he displayed and the many interests and endeavors he pursued, the list is certainly impressive - he was a real entrepreneur with a true zest for living and learning. When Leroy was present in a group it was always more fun. At sing-a-longs his harmonica added liveliness to the music. In discussions about politics, civic affairs, education or religion, his opinions sometimes sparked debate and certainly stimulated interesting conversation. His political activism and leadership were clear evidence of his commitment to his beliefs. I don't think his idealistic spirit ever dimmed through the years even as he recognized the hard fact that progress for a better world is often incremental at best. Leroy was good hearted, a good listener and connected in a fun way with children. His talents and attributes left us with many memories and his books, poetry, musical programs and tapes are living legacies of those diverse interests he enjoyed. But it is Leroy's kindness, generosity of spirit, good humor, optimism, idealism and genuine charm which are etched clearly in our memories. We will miss Leroy greatly and treasure what he left behind for us to remember. We extend our love and support to Mary Jo and the four D's - David, Diane, Doug and Daniel and the rest of the Owens family as they also seek comfort in the stories and memories of Leroy's influence in their lives. With Love and Remembrance, Tom and Diana (Roberts)

I'm so honored to have met LeRoy at the NAMI convention in San Diego several years ago. I got to spend time with him at lunch at the hotel and also at dinner at a restaurant. He was a charming and wonderful dinner guest, and I was fascinated by him. When he told me he was going to sing at one of the convention social events, I jokingly said "If you do, I will get up and dance." I used to be a ballet dancer, and I love to dance at parties. I'm also a writer and artist--and I love to sing, too, but my parents discouraged me from pursuing any of these arts. We were the kind of family who doesn't show much affection or give hugs. I went to a different event that day at the convention, and I really regret it now, because I had no idea that LeRoy was an accomplished bass singer. That's lower than baritone--amazing! I've never heard anyone sing that 'low' in person! Thank you for creating this tribute website! I have learned a lot from Daniel and LeRoy and his loving family. LeRoy's poems are amazing, and it looks like I now have the chance to listen to a recording of him singing. I will never forget the way LeRoy sat on his teenagers in order to hug them! How funny and wonderful. LeRoy clearly didn't just speak and write about passing on self esteem to his children--he lived by his words. I'm sure he also influenced many, many teachers and children in just the same way. Joyce Kane, from Lake Isabella, California

LeRoy is gone and the memories come flooding back. Trying to capture them in words is like trying to catch a tidal wave in a teacup. Marooned on the Lake, Snowbound, the Night of the Toilet, the Yule Log, the homebuilt observatories, the unexpected visits from Alaska bearing enormous slabs of frozen halibut, the countless kindnesses dispensed to our family during 45 years of friendship. He had a way of gently overwhelming you. My memories of LeRoy are not stories with punch lines but snapshots of small moments that remain sharp and unfaded in the mind. LeRoy and my wife Stella met in 1963 when he was a junior high school vice principal and she was the school nurse. They teamed up to help troubled kids and liked each other's gentle approach. Then, one December evening, LeRoy and Mary Jo invited us to dinner. We arrived carrying a yule log that we had chosen because of both its girth and its weight. I staggered to their fireplace and toppled it in where it wedged tightly, leaving little room for kindling. What we didn't realize was that the log was heavy not because it was fine hardwood but because it was wet. It never did burn right, LeRoy said, but after weeks of trying he did get it to smolder. Years later, in showing me how a real man builds a fire, he created such an inferno in his fireplace that the glass screen imploded and terrified everyone in the house. The Owens had four kids; we had three. After a while we discovered we were, if not mirror images, close to it where life's values are concerned. Our families blurred together a bit. We set up guardianship papers to cover each others' children in case one set of parents died. We got to know each others' homes as well as we knew our own. We went camping together. Snowbound: The first night of the big snow of 1969 the Owens family was visiting us in our home on a hill west of Eugene. We found one excuse after another to delay their departure, finally pulling the living room curtains to keep them from seeing how deep the snow was getting. By the time they wised up they couldn't get their car out of the driveway. Two days later their car was barely visible. On the third day LeRoy, face set in determination, began shoveling 42 inches of snow; we grudgingly pitched in and they finally managed to flee. Marooned: When we were all tenting near Mount Hood and hiked off for a picnic LeRoy discovered a raft on the beach of an icy lake. Using a stout pole he propelled himself toward the far shore. We watched curiously as the raft slowed to a stop in the middle of the lake. No amount of shouting and waving on our part could persuade him to come join us. It turned out that as the raft's momentum carried him into deep water his pole had proved far too short to reach the bottom. He made it back to land only later when the wind gave him a push. One more. The Toilet: One of our little angels had flushed a plastic bubble-mix bottle down the toilet. That night, while sitting on floor in the Owens' living room with LeRoy, two other guys, our wives and copious wine, I heard a number of ingenious methods proposed for retrieving the bottle. About 10 o'clock LeRoy decided we needed to move the discussion across town into our small downstairs bathroom and put the theories to the test. A hundred flushes later, about 1 a.m., we gave up, and the next day a plumber took less than a minute to extract the bottle. LeRoy thought we needed a wood shed so he showed up at the house and built us one. A ping-pong table might be fun in our basement, he thought, so he built us one of those too. When my sister moved to Eugene after her divorce and LeRoy learned that her young son was furious over having to leave his dad, LeRoy bought him a punching bag. (I just learned this from my sister a few days ago.) And I can only wonder how many other such stories there must be in Eugene, Samoa, Alaska, Ashland and other places where LeRoy's wise words and kind touch have buoyed spirits. As proud members of LeRoy and Mary Jo's extended family, we cling to dozens of these treasured personal vignettes of that wonderful guy we were privileged to call friend. He will live in our hearts always. Dave and Stella Emery

Here are some tributes and memories from childhood...Early on LeRoy showed the personal charactoistics in his personality of: Ernestness, Engaging, Personable,Outgoing, and seemed to be liked by everyone. Elmer, one of our saleyard employees, called him "Dutch". We moved to Boise, Idaho when LeRoy was three. LeRoy had pets, such as Scotty Boy, a dog and an Indian/Shetland pony that no one else could ride. LeRoy would race arond with one arm in the air in good cowboy style. He did get dumped a time or two and nipped several times. At Seven years(1943) we moved to Columbus Ave. in Boise Bench. Our neighbor girl was the only other young ones around. She would hop around and show off, but didn't make contact with us. LeRoy felt sorry for her and invited her to hang-out with us. She was six years old and precocious and taught us all how to kiss properly! LeRoy was inventive and dressed-up his bike like Mother Goose and won a prise in a parade. He also made a soapbox derby car and won several heats. In 1943 we went to Petersburg VA to be near my dad at Camp Lee, where he was stationed with the Army. We all went to the Saturday movies and were on the prowl for pop bottles to trade in for show money. We all looked for jobs, but LeRoy, with a basket on his bike landed a delivery job in a meat market. On day he took out a delivery, hit a bump and dropped the meat on the ground. The paper opened and the meat lay in the dirt. LeRoy deliverd it with appologies. The lady was impressed with him and took the meat saying, "it will wash off!". What a guy, what specil ways! There are many more moments to share about LeRoy, but I suffice to say he'll be greatly missed!

I always loved to hear Leroy tell a story.The sound of his voice would make even a simple thing sound grand. He always joined in at 4th of July: dressing for the parade, reciting the constitution, singing, visiting and family stories. Also, never leave without checking the car for a “present”. My uncle Leroy the best uncle ever.

There is no better measure of a man’s life then the loving affection with which he is held by those around him. It was clear to all who knew the Owens family that LeRoy was in the center of a circle of love. His greatest tribute is not the words we write here, but the closeness of the family he leaves behind.

I've lost a father and a friend. For the last two years, dad was the first person I saw in the morning and the last person that I saw at night. Every morning he was singing. He said that he didn't know where the songs came from. They were happy songs. Dad was the most cheerful morning person that I know. I'll miss you dad, particularly in the mornings.

You can listen to LeRoy reciting 'The Revolving Christmas Tree' at the link below: If folks have other audio or video they'd like to share, I'd be happy to host it.

I'd love to hear LeRoy sing "Danny Boy" one more time. Family reunions were always a fun time, and music always was present. There was always a hug (did he get that from his Dad) and a big smile. I'm so glad he was able to be here this summer for the celebration in Montana. Although the rain cut short our visit and any music that might have evolved, there are still memories that we will have forever. It seems unbelievable all that has taken place since then.

One of my mother’s nomadic brothers. Life in Alaska and Samoa seemed exotic and adventurous to me. A favorite Christmas recording is LeRoy reciting The Revolving Christmas Tree. Taken from a tape sent from Alaska for Christmas 1982, I play it every year. From the time I could understand such things, I admired that he always seemed in love with his wife and children. One of my treasures is LeRoy’s State House District 9-A poster from an Alaska election. It hangs on the door in my shop where I see it often. Though we are many, I always thought of him as THE family Democrat. I always envied his deep baritone voice. Favorite memories include a 4th of July recitations, including one with cousin Ed Schultz, and harmonica music. Having learned the depths of his interests, I’m amazed I only recently learned of his love for pewter and blow torches. Carol recently referred to LeRoy as larger than life. He was always this to me.

"Have you been leaned on lately" If you didn't move fast enough Dad would be in your lap! As teenagers he found this away to give us kids a hug. As a Dad myself, my girls don't always appreciate my singing or acting goofy but they will always know they are loved the way us kids did. He leaves some big shoes to be filled. Love you Dad.

LeRoy shared his enthusiasms and warmth with Bob and me as he did with everyone. I sponsored his transfer to the Lithia Springs Rotary Club, where his booming bass voice was the source of music and wise counsel for the past 17 years. His delight in garage sales brought me dozens of pieces of old pewter, a shared passion, and his joy in singing, combined with Mary Jo's warm hospitality, sparked many evenings of fun with large groups of us belting out old songs around their wonderful (garage sale find) piano. But most of all, we treasure the memories of his many breakfast outings with his Dad and Bob, and then with Bob when he was recovering from surgery. He was a man of huge and generous spirit.

Dad always loved to share his music and the inspiring words of great Americans. Here are a few of his compositions. He would love that we enjoy his creative and inspiring messages in the future.

More than a friend, almost a relative...

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