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Born December 11, 1922, in New York, NY, the Honorable Richard Owen, S.D.N.Y., died peacefully on November 20, 2015, in New York, NY. He was just shy of 93. A member of the Dartmouth Class of 1945, his undergraduate studies were interrupted for several years when he joined the Army Air Corps and served as a navigator in the Pacific during the Second World War. After returning and completing his studies at Dartmouth, he earned his L.L.B. from Harvard Law School in 1950. He relished his days as a trial lawyer, both in private practice and with the U.S. Attorney's Office and the Department of Justice. In 1973, President Nixon appointed him to the federal bench, where he served for almost 40 years. Judge Owen presided over numerous notable cases, including the Mafia Commission case and a copyright infringement case against former Beatle, George Harrison, whom the Judge found to have subconsciously plagiarized the tune for "My Sweet Lord". While maintaining a full-time legal career, Judge Owen also pursued his other passion: music. He studied composition with Vittorio Giannini at the Manhattan School of Music where he later received an honorary doctorate and became a member of the Board of Trustees. He met his late wife, Metropolitan Opera soprano Lynn Owen (1933-2014), while studying music at Tanglewood, and they married in 1960. The leading lady in many of his musical works, she was the great love of his life and the mother of his three sons, Carl, David and Richard. Judge Owen went on to compose nine operas, including "Abigail Adams" and "Rain," all of which have been performed and acclaimed throughout the U.S. and Europe, including in Lincoln Center. He was also an avid sailor and a champion in several boat designs. Judge Owen touched many lives, especially as a mentor to a generation of young lawyers and law clerks. Both his musical and legal legacy live on in his sons, David and Richard Jr., and his five grandsons, Richard III, Christopher, Peter, James and Thomas. Donations may be made to the Carl Owen Scholarship Fund, Manhattan School of Music, 120 Claremont Ave. New York, NY 10027. A memorial service will be held at 10:30 a.m. on Friday, December 4, at the Cathedral of Saint John the Divine, New York City.

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Published in New York Times on Nov. 26, 2015.
Memories & Condolences
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10 entries
December 24, 2015
As a court reporter I worked with Judge Owen on one of the Wedtech cases in 1989 during my short stint in the SDNY. I had a number of interesting conversations about music with him, having been professionally trained as a pianist myself. I was shocked to learn of his passing, and I remember him as a wonderful, kind and wise man.
May God comfort his family.
David Levy
December 4, 2015
Richard I am so sorry to hear about your fathers passing. My condolences on you loss. Joe Weiss
December 3, 2015
My condolences to David and Richard on the occasion of your dear father's death. I raise a glass of gin to the memory of that lively and fun fellow.

Only when you drink from the river of silence shall you indeed sing.
And when you have reached the mountain top, then you shall begin to climb.
And when the earth shall claim your limbs, then shall you truly dance.
(K. Gibran)
Jean Marie Offenbacher
December 3, 2015
In the Summer of 1954, I was a Summer Associate in the U.S. Attorney's Office and Dick Owen was my mentor. We worked closely together, I learned much of what it meant to represent the U.S. Government and developed a high regard for his intelligence and integrity. We also found that we shared a deep interest in classical music and, in particular, opera. Through the years, a feeling of affinity has remained. My condolences to his family.
Herbert Wachtell
December 2, 2015
Hi Richard and the Owen Family,

Please accept my deepest condolences for beloved father's passing. He is in my prayers, and I will continue to pray for you all that God will give you strength and comfort during these difficult times. May your father rest in peace, and go forth into the glory and everlasting love and light of God and His kingdom in heaven.

Warmest Regards,
Maria Caballero
December 1, 2015
We send our deep condolences to David and Richard Owen on the passing of their distinguished father, who contributed so much to both the legal and musical activities of New York.
Harry and Nathalie Wagner
November 30, 2015
Wishing peace and God's love to the Owen family.
Linda Redlisky
November 30, 2015
I studied with Lynn Owen at Barnard College and, only because of her support, subsequently, at Manhattan School of Music. If Richard poked his head in during a voice lesson it was always an honor and a treat for certainly, he carried MUSIC in him and even his glances told it. I am grateful to have this family in my story, and my deepest sympathies are extended to his musical son and the other members of the family. I remember the Owens' service to Art, to their institutions, their Family foremost, and their Friends.
Alicia Hall Moran
November 29, 2015
may God bless and comfort grieving ones at this difficult time as Judge Owen R.I.P
November 27, 2015
My deepest sympathy to the Owen Family for your loss. I had the honor of knowing and working with Judge Owen through our mutual love for Manhattan School of Music. His legacy is and will be his immense passion and dedication to the Art of Law and Music. Rest In Peace.
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