- The Washington Times - Tuesday, January 23, 2007

James F. Owens, who made a career ensuring that readers of The Washington Times received their newspaper every day, died Jan. 14 at the University of Maryland Medical Center in Baltimore after battling cancer for more than five years. He was 66.

Mr. Owens had been undergoing treatments for multiple myeloma and leukemia and was doing well until Christmastime, his family said.

He was surrounded by his wife of 10 years, Mary, and more than 30 friends and family members when he died, said his stepdaughter, Wanda Thompson.

Mr. Owens was born in the District and attended D.C. public schools through high school.

He worked for 20 years at The Washington Star, until it folded in 1981. He started with The Times in 1982 as a clamp truck operator, unloading and storing newsprint. He was promoted twice before becoming materials handling manager in 1987, overseeing operations of all production department functions. He retired in June.

Christmas visits gave Mr. Owens time to spend with his grandchildren, Mrs. Thompson said. He forged a special bond with them shortly before his death by telling them about a secret Christmas gift for his wife.

The surprise was a schnauzer puppy named Bernie.

Mrs. Owens said she and her family think Mr. Owens knew his condition was worsening and gave her the puppy early, though he intended to give it to her next Christmas when she plans to retire.

“I really thought in my heart that he gave me that puppy so I wouldn’t be alone,” she said.

It was a gift that demonstrated a level of caring and dedication noted by family, friends and co-workers.

“Even when he was sick,” said Keith Martin, assistant production director for The Times, “he’d be here and then go to a doctor’s appointment, and then he’d be back here again.”

Mr. Owens played cards, traveled and spent holidays as part of the so-called “six pack,” which included his wife and two other couples.

A faithful Washington Redskins fan, he was in front of the television every Sunday to watch the home team.

Mr. Owens met his wife while bowling in the early 1990s, his wife said. They began dating two years later.

In addition to his wife, Mr. Owens is survived by three daughters, Linda Lewis, Anita Michelle Owens and Crystal Green; two stepchildren, Wanda Thompson and John Green; and five grandchildren.

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