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Updated: 01/15/2014 08:00:03AM

Russell E. Owens

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Russell E. Owens

Russell E. Owens

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Russell E. Owens, of Venice, Fla., died Friday, Jan. 10, 2014, after a courageous battle with cancer.

Russ was born July 22, 1925, in Columbus, Ind. He was preceded in death by his parents, George E. and Nelle F. Owens, and a brother, Carroll D. Owens of Columbus, Ind.

He attended Columbus High School and graduated in 1943. He received his bachelor of arts from Hanover College in 1950 and a master of science in 1951 from Butler University. While at Hanover, Russ was a member of Beta Theta Pi Fraternity and was on the Hanover varsity football team. He was a veteran of World War II, serving in the Merchant Marines for three years.

In Columbus, Ind., he taught at Central and Northside Junior High Schools and North High School, and retired in 1988 after 38 years as an educator. He also served as Science Department chair and coached basketball and football in the junior high schools.

For 43 years he was a basketball and football official in junior high and high schools. He received recognition from the Indiana High School Athletic Association as an honorary official for his contributions to the youth of the state. For 20 years he was a football official at the college level. In 2003, Russ was recognized as a honorary member of the Mid-Hoosier Officials Association for his many years of dedication to officiating in Indiana.

Russ was a devoted husband to his loving wife and best friend of 63 years, Alice Jean (Essex) Owens. Other survivors are a son, Craig of Columbus, Ind., and daughters Tamara Weaver of Venice, Fla., Gerri O. Hansen of Punta Gorda, Fla., and Lisa Haines of Speedway, Ind.; grandchildren; great-grandchildren; and several nieces and a nephew.

Russ and Jean have lived in Venice, Fla., and Nokomis, Fla., since 1990. He was a member of the Venice Nokomis Elks Lodge 1854, and was the Exalted Ruler in 1994. He was also a member of American Legion Post 159, and a Life Member of VFW Post 8113. Russ was a member of Grace United Methodist Church, where he served as an usher and greeter for many years. He was a member of the Indiana Retired Teachers’ Association and Bartholomew Retired Teachers Association, and a life member of the National Educator’s Association.

His family will be eternally grateful to his doctors, nurses and hospice for their loving care and concerns. He will be lovingly missed and remembered.

Services: The family is planning a private burial at Venice Memorial Gardens with Farley Funeral Home in charge. To share a memory, visit:

Contributions: In lieu of flowers, memorial donations to the Grace United Methodist Church Scholarship Fund, 400 E. Field Ave., Venice FL 34285, would be greatly appreciated.