Peter J. Owens Jr.

Peter J. Owens Jr.
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Eyes on the Prizes

Peter J. Owens Jr. coached Little League baseball and his nickname was Send 'Em Home Owens. Whenever one of his players reached third base, no matter what was happening on the rest of the field, Mr. Owens would urge a dash to home plate. "Don't listen! Don't run!" parents would scream. "But Pete would send 'em home," recalled his wife, Kathleen, laughing.

While competitive and outgoing, Mr. Owens could also spend hours fly fishing alone on the Connetquot River, not too far from the Owenses' home in Williston Park, N.Y., on Long Island. He had nearly a dozen fishing rods and was learning how to tie flies.

Mr. Owens, who was 42, thought himself lucky, and so did his wife and their children, Joseph, 22, Thomas, 15, and Maryellen, 13. On their honeymoon in Aruba, Mrs. Owens lost her $50 stake in minutes at the casino, while Mr. Owens over a few hours nursed his stake into hundreds of dollars. As a boy, Mr. Owens won a prize for catching the biggest fish. And a few years ago, at a town fair, he won best vegetable for growing an almost 100-pound pumpkin.

"He was so proud," Mrs. Owens recalled. "But really, he only beat out a tomato."

Profile published in THE NEW YORK TIMES on September 8, 2002.

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