November 24, 1955 – March 6, 2017
It is with great sadness that we announce cancer has brought Owen’s adventure to an end all too soon.
Those left to celebrate Owen’s short but well-lived life are his wife of 40 years, Marj; his children: Ambra (Karel) of Gatineau, Blake of Oyama, Dora (Gord) of Winnipeg, and four much-loved grandchildren Kathrine, Zoé, Zachary and Nate. He also leaves behind his sister Dora (Keith), brother Eric (Simonne), and sister-in-law Brenda (Bill).
Owen will be remembered by all who knew him as having a zest for living life to its fullest, never being afraid to take on a challenge, big or small, and for having worked with determination at any project he took on.
Owen’s background bears witness to his willingness to make changes when life or adventure called. He was born and raised on the Prairies and after high school became a motorcycle/snowmobile mechanic. After spending two years in university, he changed direction and became a journeyman carpenter. Working for the Federal Government eight years as a carpenter, and eventually a building inspector, led him to starting a pre-purchase home inspection company after moving to Oyama in 1989.
Owen was one of the first pre-purchase home inspectors in BC, and recognizing the need for the development of professional standards of practice, examinations and eventual licensing, co-founded a provincial association for inspectors in BC. After working endlessly for 20 years, Owen saw his goal accomplished with the regulation of the home inspection industry in BC in 2009, making BC one of only two provinces to have done so.
Despite the challenges of raising a young family and running a successful business, Owen always believed in giving back to his community. Through his work as a Scouts Canada leader at all levels over 14 years, Owen changed the lives of many young Lake Country children. If you were lucky, you have heard some of his many stories of his adventures at camps, and if you were even luckier, you went along with him.
Owen and Marj loved to camp and travel as a family, on their own, and over the last few years with their four grandchildren. They travelled to many wonderful places in BC, Canada, the United States and Mexico, as well as many countries in Asia and South America. Owen enjoyed backpacking trips off the beaten track, usually with some time on the beach, but no matter how far Owen wandered, his greatest love was always reserved for the view over the lakes from Oyama, next to Marj, where his heart, his family and his dreams were rooted.
His deep commitment to the community of Oyama and Lake Country may be what he is best remembered for, since few have made as significant a difference as he has over the years. While he may be more recently remembered for door-knocking during elections with a cast and crutches, or for his daily walks with his side-kick, Bella, many may not know that over the years, Owen has organized adult and teen dances, opened a youth centre, led many Fun Day, Christmas, and Halloween activities, done maintenance at the Oyama Hall, built the Oyama Community Garden and, over the past few years, mowed the grounds and ball field.
So it should perhaps have come as no surprise that after selling his business in 2011, Owen ran for election as Oyama Ward Councillor in Lake Country and for the last five years proudly represented the citizens of Lake Country at the Municipal Council. Owen never took on a project he wasn’t willing to give 100% of his effort to and never came to a meeting unprepared. He kept Oyama residents well informed of Council activities, worked on funding for senior housing in Lake Country, and had a new playground in Oyama constructed. He was a driving force behind the purchase of the Rail Trail and was very proud that it will be a place for his children and grandchildren to explore for years to come.
Owen always loved a good joke and a drink with family, friends and neighbours, and if he wasn’t at a concert or music festival, carried his music with him wherever he went as a continuous soundtrack for his life. He will be remembered especially fondly for his poems, which served for everything, from the world’s most entertaining children’s treasure hunts, to birthday celebrations, to both simple and profound moments of reflection on life’s many ups and downs. Owen’s poems always demonstrated his amazing ability to see the good and the bad, and to find a way to laugh at both. He will be lovingly remembered with his big, goofy smile on his face, laughing at the recounting of his newest (or oldest) adventure, or trying to convince doubtful grandchildren of some new and fantastic tale. Everyone Owen touched is richer for having heard so many of his stories, and heartbroken that they will not hear any more.
Please join Owen’s family in the celebration of his life at 2:30 pm, Saturday, March 11th at the Oyama Community Hall. Donations in his memory may be made to the Oyama Community Club, 15710 Oyama Road, Lake Country V4V 2E1.