Thomas W. (Tom) Owens of Knoxville, Tennessee, formerly of Salt Lake City, Utah, passed away peacefully on June 26, 2022 at the age of 100.
He is greatly missed by his three children Jim, Peggy, and Cindy. His many dear friends, especially from golf league, bridge club, and Hercules Inc., will all deeply miss his leadership and camaraderie.
He graduated from Newark College of Engineering with a Bachelor of Science degree in 1947 and a Master’s degree in chemical engineering in 1955.
He enlisted in the U.S. Army in 1943 and was accepted into the U.S. Army Advanced Specialized Training Program (ASTP). Served in Europe, the Philippines and Japan before his honorable discharge from the Signal Corps in 1946.
He joined Hercules Inc. as a chemical engineer in 1960, developing and testing many generations of solid-fuel rocket propulsion systems, one of which is still in use today on U.S. Naval vessels. He retired in 1986.
Tom was passionate about bridge and directed duplicate bridge groups well into his nineties. The Tuesday Golden Corral 4-man group was a highlight of his week. Tom was able to pursue two of his favorite activities at once, eating ice cream and playing cards all day long. He organized a golf league for decades until turning it over to his good friend, Dennis Sauer. He bowled for years on his Hercules team until his thumb was so injured he had to switch to his left hand and still won trophies. He was athletic and enjoyed tennis, softball and skiing in his younger years.
He followed the Utah Jazz ardently and cheered for University of Utah teams.
Having a rare blood type, he often donated and was frequently called in to donate on an emergency basis. His children remember him leaving the dinner table and racing out the door. He had a life-long passion for numbers, he enjoyed calculating everyone’s golf handicap, the winners of each round, plus scoring and points won at duplicate bridge. He spent many hours providing free tax assistance through an IRS program, (VITA) Volunteer Income Tax Assistance.
He strongly believed in the value of education and ensured his children graduated, debt free, with college degrees. He started and continued 529 Education Savings Plans for his grandchildren and great grandchildren.
Tom and his loving wife, Bea, were “senior ambassadors”, traveling around the world as part of the Friendship Force started by President Jimmy Carter. Each year they would visit a country and later would reciprocate by hosting visitors from that country in their home in Utah.
Tom was preceded in death by his dear wife of 75 years, Beatrice (Bea) C. Owens; parents, Lenore and William Owens; and his sister, Patricia Owens.
He is survived by sisters, Kay Hawes and Janet Maguire (Ron); son and daughter-in-law, James (Jim) and Wanda Owens; daughters and sons-in-law, Peggy and Mark Littmann and Cindy and Joe Buchman; Grandchildren: Kellie Owens (Adam Barber), Beth McGinnis (James), Owen Littmann (Machiko), Kelsey Koenig (Jon), Hayley Sanderson (Grant), Kristian Buchman, and Anna Buchman. Great grandchildren: Maya Barber, Liam McGinnis, Adele McGinnis, Leah Littmann, Emma Koenig, Madelyn Koenig; and many nieces and nephews.
In lieu of flowers, please donate to: The American Red Cross of Utah, 6616 S. 900 E., Murray, Utah 84121, or
University of Utah School of Medicine, 30 N. 1900 E., Salt Lake City, Utah 84132; (designate to benefit research in aging), or
Sacred Ground Hospice House, 1120 Dry Gap Pike, Knoxville, TN 37918.
Tom's enthusiastic and exemplary life will be celebrated this July. Online condolences may be sent to www.mynattfh.com.