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“Jonathan, I am so very sorry I found your father passed so many months ago. Unfortunately the optical shop closed in April and I was out-of-touch...Read More ยป
1 of 1 | Posted by: Norma Ewing - newark, DE


Frank Owens died peacefully in his sleep in the early hours of Tuesday, May 22, 2012 at Heartland Hospice in Wilmington, DE. Mr. Owens, a long-time resident of Newark, enjoyed good physical health until he was hospitalized with a mini-stroke, three weeks prior to his death. He was 94 years old.

Francis Erskine Owens was born in Wilmington, DE on April 3, 1918, the eldest of three sons born to Herbert and Helen Monckton Owens. He attended Wilmington High School and subsequently P.S. DuPont. Thereafter, he enrolled at the University of Delaware, where he majored in Civil Engineering and was a member of the Sigma Nu fraternity. At the U of D, he also met his future wife, Nancy, in his senior year. They were married on September 5, 1942, shortly after her graduation.

By then, Frank had been hired as a Civil Engineer for DuPont. In the early years of their marriage, they moved frequently from town to town in the Eastern United States as Frank was involved in a number of construction projects, building new factories for the company during the War years.

After the War, the couple had two sons: Jonathan born in 1945 and Christopher in 1948. After Christopher's birth, the family settled in Newark, where Frank took a desk job at the newly opened offices at Louviers, where he remained throughout the rest of his career.

Though he enjoyed his work, his greatest enthusiasm was always reserved for his leisure interests: good food, wine and company, literature, travel, and especially music. As the 50s progressed, he also developed an increasingly avid interest in the American jazz of the 1920s, 30s and 40s. Starting in the early 60s, Frank began to share his love of jazz with a radio audience, broadcasting a weekly Monday night program, 'The Sound of Jazz', on WDEL FM. The program began as a collaboration with a Louviers colleague, Ashley Speakman. After several years, Frank continued writing and broadcasting the program on his own. As a reward for these efforts, Frank's life was enriched with numerous friendships - both musicians and fellow jazz - lovers. It also enabled him to assemble one of the largest collections of classical jazz LPs on the East Coast at the time.

In the 1970s, after both sons had graduated from college, Frank and Nancy were able to realize another lifelong dream and travel frequently in Europe. Always thorough in whatever they did, they initially made many annual trips to the British Isles, where they were especially fond of the Lake District. By then, Frank's unique sense of humor and Nancy's thorough knowledge of British history had won them many long-lasting friendships, which they were able to renew with each visit.

By the end of the 70s, very little of the UK remained unexplored, and their trips branched out to other countries on the Continent: first Scandinavia, where their son Jonathan had settled, later France, and finally Italy, the other great love of their extensive travel.

Their frequent visits to the Lake District also gave them a great love of walking, and after retirement in the 1980s, they were able to indulge this passion with almost daily walks in the gardens at Winterthur, where they were long-time members and well-known and liked by much of the staff.

By the time of Nancy's passing in 2008, Frank had developed a gentle form of dementia. Despite the increasing loss of his short-term memory, he retained his sharp sense of humor and remained a thoroughly likeable gentleman to the end. Thanks to the assistance of his devoted care-givers, Maxene Block and Diana Reyes from Home Instead Senior Care, his last years were happy ones, and he was able to live at home until he finally succumbed, after many years of robust physical health, to a mercifully brief illness.

He is survived by his elder son, Jonathan, who is still a resident of Oslo, Norway, but who fortunately was able to visit his father frequently during those last happy years. He was preceded in death by his younger son Christopher and his sister-in-law Mary Hayes in 2006 and by his beloved wife Nancy in 2008.

A memorial funeral service to honor and celebrate the memory of all four of them will be held at the R.T. Foard Funeral Home at 122 W. Main Street in Newark, DE on May 29, 2012. The funeral service will be held at 2:00 p.m. Prior to the service, there will be a gathering at the funeral home at 1:00 p.m. where all who wish to pay their respects will be welcome.