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Dale Edward Owens

Dale Edward Owens Obituary
Owens, Dale Edward,

67, of Louisville, Kentucky, died Thursday, January 11, 2018.

Dale was an influential figure in Louisville professional sports for nearly four decades. After graduating from the University of Kentucky in 1975, Dale became the Assistant to the President of William H. King Enterprises and Marketing Director of Louisville Downs harness track, serving as the right-hand man to legendary sports promoter Bill King. In that capacity, Dale ran Louisville Downs, which, under his leadership, became the first track in the United States to televise its races live and accept telephone wagering. He also promoted professional motorcycle races across the country and managed the Louisville Sport, Boat and Vacation Show. In 1986, Dale received the John Hervey Award from the U.S. Trotting Association for writing and producing Pompano Harness Weekly, judged the best harness racing television production that year.

In 1987, Dale became the General Manager of the Louisville Redbirds Triple-A baseball team (now the Louisville Bats). During his 26 years in that role, Dale was instrumental in creating an affordable, family-friendly experience at the ballpark. In 1994, the National Association of Professional Baseball Leagues honored him as the American Association Executive of the Year. Dale also helped bring professional hockey back to Louisville in 1995, managing the RiverFrogs concurrently with the baseball team for three years. He spearheaded the baseball team's move from Cardinal Stadium to Louisville Slugger Field in the late 1990s, which was a catalyst for the revitalization of Downtown Louisville.

A lifelong music fan, Dale also promoted concerts for acts such as Emmylou Harris, Jimmy Buffett, Willie Nelson, the Beach Boys, Wilco, My Morning Jacket, and Arcade Fire.

Throughout his life, Dale served as a friend and mentor to countless people. He was also a loving husband and father who was a consistent and supportive presence in his family's life. Later in life, Dale became an avid runner, completing nine marathons, including Boston, New York, Chicago, San Francisco, and Paris.

He is survived by his wife Jane and his three children, Annie, Zachary, and Molly.

A memorial service celebrating Dale's life will be held at 6:00 p.m. on Tuesday, January 16, 2018, at The Henry Clay, 604 S. 3rd Street, in Louisville. In lieu of flowers, donations may be made to Louisville Public Media.
Published in The Courier-Journal on Jan. 14, 2018
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