William (Bill) Van Brocklin Owen, Jr. of Worthington, passed Tuesday, July 16, 2019 at the age of 98. Bill was born in Meadville, Pennsylvania on February 16, 1921 to the late William Van Brocklin Owen, Sr. and Louise Katherine Werle Owen. The family moved to Columbus not long after Bill’s birth, and he was raised in Clintonville, graduating from North High School in 1939 and then attending Ohio State University.
Immediately following Pearl Harbor, he enlisted in the Army Air Corps and flew two tours of duty out of England during World War II. Following the war, Bill returned to Columbus, married Jacqueline (Jackie) Bowsman and began a family in Clintonville. He completed his degree in mechanical engineering from Ohio State, but was recalled to active service at the outset of the Korean War. He became a career Air Force officer, including pilot duty during the Korean and Vietnam Wars, eventually retiring as a colonel in 1972. Though his career ended, his lifelong love of flight did not, and he continued piloting his own plane well into his 80s.
Bill, Jackie and their children lived all across the country during his years of service, but upon retirement, he returned to Columbus, the place he always considered home. Back home, his life revolved around his family in Upper Arlington and Worthington. Bill sadly lost Jackie in 1984 following a battle with ovarian cancer. In 1987 Bill married his second wife Eileen Rager Owen, and they built their life together in Indianapolis, Indiana. Though living in Indianapolis, Bill spent as much time in Columbus as possible to be close with his family and look after apartment buildings he continued to own and maintain in Worthington. Though it looked like work to everyone else, he considered maintaining the apartments his hobby. He returned full time to Worthington in 2018 and spent the last year of his life in those apartments, surrounded by family and friends.
Bill was a devoted son, husband, father, grandfather and friend- and he never met a dog he could deny table scraps. He will be deeply missed.
Bill is survived by Eileen and her children, grandchildren and great grandchildren. He is also survived by his daughters, Ann North and Susan Owen, and his grandchildren Mark North, David North and Jacqueline Outka, as well as many nieces and nephews and their children and grandchildren. In addition to Jackie, Bill was predeceased by his son, David Stuart Owen, and by Eileen’s son, Gregory Rager. Bill was also predeceased by his siblings and their spouses: Betty Louise Owen, Dick and Sara Owen, Jim and Phyllis Owen, and Jane and Dan Lane.
A graveside service will be held at Walnut Grove Cemetery, Worthington, Ohio on Tuesday July 23, 2019 at 10 am. A memorial service will follow at First Congregational Church, 444 E. Broad Street in downtown Columbus, at 11:30 am on Tuesday, July 23, 2019. The family would like to thank all the staff at Kobacker House and Ohio Health for their loving care of Bill and our family. The family may be contacted through Rutherford and Corbin Funeral Home. There is a website at Rutherford where you may offer condolences. In lieu of flowers, please consider contributing to the Kobacker House, the Jackie Owen Memorial Music Fund at First Congregational Church or a charity of your choice.