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Douglas Wayne Owens

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Douglas Wayne Owens 5/2/37~12/18/02  D. Wayne Owens, age 65, beloved husband, father, grandfather, brother, mission president, Member of Congress, and President of the non-profit Center for Middle East Peace, died suddenly on December 18, 2002, of an apparent heart attack while in Tel Aviv, Israel, where he was nearing completion of a nine-nation, peace-seeking trip with several members of Congress. Our hearts are broken with this loss, but we thank our Father in Heaven that Wayne was a part of our lives and have faith through the resurrection that we will see Wayne again. Wayne was born on May 2, 1937 in Panguitch Utah, the youngest of nine children, to Ruth Eliza Dodds and Joseph Owens. At a very young age, he showed a keen interest in books and government. He graduated from Panguitch High School and the University of Utah, receiving his law degree in 1964. He served a three year mission for the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints in France, where he served in the mission presidency. Of all of Wayne's various church callings, he liked being a missionary most. While in France, Wayne became acquainted with Marlene Wessel, another missionary, whom he later courted. They married on August 18, 1961 in the Salt Lake LDS Temple. Marlene and Wayne enjoyed 41 years of happiness together in a true partnership.  Wayne genuinely loved people and was extraordinarily generous with his time and resources. He was a wonderful and caring husband, and spent several weeks recently nursing Marlene back to health from surgery. His five children and fourteen grandchildren always knew of his unconditional love. He had boundless energy and reached out to everyone he met. He treated everyone with respect. Wayne's great passion was politics, which he considered a very honorable profession, and he was proud to be a lifelong Democrat. He worked on the campaigns and staffs of Calvin Rampton, David King, Milt Willeman, Frank Moss, Senator Robert Kennedy, and Senator Ted Kennedy.  In 1972, Wayne ran for Congress by walking 711 miles across Utah. The walk was an extraordinary success, and Wayne went on to win the election. Time magazine named Wayne as one of its "Leaders for the Future." While in Congress, Wayne worked tirelessly on the impeachment proceedings investigating Richard Nixon and voted to stop funding for the Vietnam War. After losing a race for the U.S. Senate in 1974, Wayne served as LDS mission president in the Canada Montreal Mission from 1975-78, which years he called the most extraordinary of his life.  Wayne was re-elected to his old U.S. House seat in 1986 and twice won re-election by ever-increasing margins. Wayne championed dozens of causes, including fighting to compensate Utah downwinders for the illnesses suffered from nuclear testing and to protect Utah's unique red rock wilderness. In 1992, Wayne lost his bid for the U.S. Senate. He served on two U.S. Commissions, several national environmental boards, and the Utah State Board of Regents. In 1992, Wayne co-founded the Center for Middle East Peace and Economic Development with his friend, Danny Abraham. He spent the next ten years of his life working to bring peace to that troubled region, making monthly trips there to meet with key leaders and build bridges.  Predeceased by his parents, and siblings Joseph John "Jack" Owens (Marie), Lola Barton (Ren), Sara Brady (Jim), Norma Owens, and Glayd Owens (Ruth). Survivors include his wife Marlene, and children: Elizabeth Tew (David), Douglas (Cynthia Smart), Stephen (DawnAnn Cook), Sara, and Ted (Andrea Thomas); Grandchildren Sara, Chelsea, David, Jared, Elijah, Landon, Wayne, Samuel, Emmeline, Abigail, Lydia, Thomas, Claire, and Timothy; Siblings Georgie Cuff (Adrian), Betty Ruth Brown (Lewis), and Ted Dale Owens (Christine).  Funeral services will be held at noon, Monday, December 23, 2002, at the Arlington Hills LDS Chapel, 1300 East Fairfax Road (approximately 10th Avenue and Virginia Street, across from Shiner's Hospital), Salt Lake City, Utah. Friends may call on Sunday, December 22, 2002, from 6-8 pm, at Larkin Mortuary, 260 East South Temple, or on Monday at the Arlington Hills Chapel from 10-11:30 am. Internment will be at the Salt Lake City Cemetery.
Published in Salt Lake Tribune from Dec. 21 to Dec. 22, 2002
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