d. May 14, 2013
John Robert Owens, UC Davis Professor Emeritus and long time Davis resident, died peacefully on May 14 shortly before his 87th birthday.
Owens was a member of the UC Davis faculty and of the campus Political Science Department for 31 years before retiring in 1990. He specialized in American politics and taught courses on such topics as the US Congress, political parties, and political behavior. His numerous publications focused on California politics, campaign financing, and the legislative process. Most recently, his research focused on post-Proposition 13 initiative spending in California.
Owens was born in upstate New York to Albert and Anna Mae Owens, both of Welsh descent. He was one of three children. Owens enlisted in the U.S. Navy during World War II when he was 18 and served as an engineer in both the European and Pacific theaters.
Following the war, he earned his B.A., M.A., and Ph.D. degrees in political science from Syracuse University. Owens joined the faculty of Wesleyan University in 1953 and then moved to the University of Michigan, Ann Arbor for 3 years before his appointment to the UC Davis faculty in 1959.
Owens met his dear wife Betsy soon after arriving in Davis and they married in 1962. They were married for 48 happy years and raised two sons, John Jr. and David, and enjoyed a full and wonderful life in the Davis community. Owens was pre-deceased by his wife and survived by his sons, his daughter-in-law and his granddaughter Kyra, who has been the light of his life for 13 years. He enjoyed a loving extended family and many wonderful friends and neighbors.
A graveside service will be held on Sunday, May 26th at 1 p.m. at the Davis Cemetery, 820 Pole Line Road in Davis. There will be a reception at the Owens home following the service.