Cover photo for LTC Robert Lee Owens, US (Ret.)  Army  Sr.'s Obituary
LTC Robert Lee Owens, US (Ret.)  Army  Sr. Profile Photo
1927 LTC 2020

LTC Robert Lee Owens, US (Ret.) Army Sr.

December 6, 1927 — December 25, 2020

LTC Robert Lee Owens, Sr., US Army (Ret.), age 93, of Cole Camp, passed away Friday, December 25, 2020. Known to his family as Bear, he was born December 6, 1927, in Cole Camp, a son of Homer and Dora Eding Owens.   He is survived by his spouse of many years Martha Ann Owens, two children, Robert Owens, Jr., of Olympia, Washington and Dana Haza and husband Luis of St. Simon Island, Georgia and two grandchildren, Claire and Erik Owens.  He was preceded in death by his parents and three infant siblings. Bear also leaves behind his beloved friends Neil and Marilyn Heimsoth, Diane Peck, and his devoted caregiver Jenny Richens along with other relatives and many friends.

The family will receive friends from 9:30 a.m. -11:00 a.m. Thursday, December 31 at the Mt. Hulda Lutheran Church at 22303 Mount Hulda Ave, Cole Camp, MO 65325.  Funeral services will begin at 11:00 a.m. with Pastor Allen Braun officiating. Burial, with military honors, will be in the St. John Lutheran Cemetery-Boeschenville. The Cole Camp Männerchor  (Männerchor)as Honorary pallbearers.

Memorial contributions are suggested to Mount Hulda Lutheran Church and the Cole Camp Museum.

Having been a graduate of Cole Camp High school, and known for his trickster disposition, he departed  his Blue Bird alma mater leaving a cow on its roof in a ceremonious act. His educational legacy culminated in getting a Masters Degree in History from the University of Missouri. Later in his life he became a professor of History at the University of South Carolina where he entertained and inspired many youthful minds.

A soldier in war and a patriot in peace, Bear loved his country and was proud of his 20 years of service. Carving his steps on this path by joining the military. As an MP officer he served in Japan, Germany, and two volunteer tours in Vietnam. He was awarded the Bronze Star.

Our father, an ardent lover of his German heritage, imparted this passion  not only in both his children and grandchildren, but to all the communities in which he lived. He was no grand mythological figure--no Odin, not Thor, nor Loki. Not Sigmund or Siegfied. And though  he liked to play Mephisto during Fasching, he was most like the hero of his most beloved literary work, Faust. His desire to know and experience life burned so strongly in him that it drove him beyond his beloved Cole Camp.  He left the forests and overturned outhouses of his childhood and sought the world. He developed his love of music and history during this time. He explored every niche possible during this time: castles, Thermopylae, epic ruck marches, and undertook 10000 adventures few would understand or believe. He even peed in Mt Vesuvius.

After retiring from the military, he settled in Augusta, Georgia, where he did everything from teaching college, museum curation, political campaign management, engaged heavily with the Augusta Opera Association, and Republican Party leadership, to designing security programs and systems for nuclear power plants and international airports overseas.

Family life always included a crazy zoo of pets. Our dogs had dogs. The goat thought he belonged to our pack of dogs. The pig just ran with the pack as well. He built a turtle pen for 50 turtles and so enjoyed the antics of his beloved goat, Capricorn. Life was never dull. He was actively engaged in the lives of his children. He came to soccer games he didn't understand, attended many ballet performances, helped with History Day projects and so much more.  Each December 6th, Nikolaus Tag (Nicklaus Day) his children could count on switches adorned with chocolate to be found in their shoes. He built and often fired canons at the neighbors in playful annoyance.

Eventually life brought him back to his beloved Cole Camp, his love of history helped put his hometown on the map. He helped develop its wonderful museum and rekindle its sense of itself by producing a collaborative tome on the history of Cole Camp entitled Here we speak Low German (Heir Snackt Wi Plattdeutsch). Doting on his historical house, driving the backroads, loudly playing opera wherever he was, playing pitch, writing articles for the Cole Camp Courier’s  “View from the Water Tower“, and an ardent volunteer and supporter of his beloved Männerchor filled his days and nights with much enjoyment.  He loved the people and the experiences he shared

In everything he  did, he strove to learn,  to grow,  to understand. He loved to engage with people, to push people to grow and expand their horizons. He gave it his best.

His children, Dana and Robert,  and his grandchildren,  Claire and Erik,  can know that most people barely live one fourth of the life he lived. He celebrated life to the fullest. Thank you for including us in your journey. Rest easy and laugh loudly, our father.


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Visitation Mt. Hulda Lutheran Church Thursday, December 31, 2020 9:30 AM - 11:00 AM 22303 Mount Hulda Avenue
Cole Camp, MO 65325 Directions Funeral Service Mt. Hulda Lutheran Church Thursday, December 31, 2020 11:00 AM 22303 Mount Hulda Avenue
Cole Camp, MO 65325

Burial will follow in the St. John Cemetery-Boeschenville

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