American Veteran 04

Richard B. Owens

December 31, 2021


Richard B. Owens of Wynnewood, Pennsylvania passed away at the age of 89 on December 31, 2021, at the VNA Hospice of Philadelphia after a six-month battle with cancer.

Mr. Owens was born on April 22, 1932, in “Tent #7” in Charlotte, North Carolina. He was the son of Gertrude Guthrie and Charles Owens.

After graduating high school, Mr. Owens served in the US Army during the Korean War, earning the rank of sergeant.

He earned his bachelor’s degree from Johnson C. Smith University in Charlotte, NC.

He ultimately moved to Philadelphia, where he met and married the Barbara F. Myers. They remained together for fifty-seven years until her passing in 2017.

When he came to Philadelphia, Mr. Owens started working in real estate and insurance for Mr. Howard Thomas. In 1968, he founded the Richard B. Owens Company. He was part of one of the early waves of African American real estate brokers in Philadelphia, and the company has remained in business for nearly fifty-four years.

In business, he was part of a small group of African American real estate appraisers in the area. His assignments included a variety of property types for various clients. He was probably proudest of the work that he did for government (local, state, and federal) clients and community organizations.

He was also the first black president of the local chapter of the American Society of Appraisers.

In addition to his bachelor’s degree, Mr. Owens earned an associate degree in real estate and business from the Wharton School, and a Master of Science from Western States University.

He had a reputation as a no-nonsense businessman, and he had a gruff persona. But he cared about his clients, and he always treated customers and colleagues with respect. He leaves behind many friends in the real estate world, along with several people who consider him a mentor.

Mr. Owens grew up a member of Woodland Presbyterian Church in Charlotte. When he came to Philadelphia, he was a member of First African Presbyterian Church, and ultimately Overbrook Presbyterian Church where he served as an Elder and on several committees.

Besides his career and service to the Lord, many people knew “Dick” Owens from the golf course. He could be found on many area courses nearly every Saturday and Sunday (and occasionally on Wednesdays and Fridays).

He was formerly a member of Freeway Golf Course in Sicklerville, New Jersey, and Ashbourne Country Club in Elkins Park, before he joined the Bala Golf Club. On (and off the course) people could recognize him by his colorful outfits, especially his knickers and argyle socks.

His handicap was in the single digits, and he earned multiple trophies during his playing days. He also had the distinction of earning two “holes-in-one” during his playing days.

Although he had season tickets for the Philadelphia Eagles and he lived in Philadelphia for over sixty years, Mr. Owens was a diehard Dallas Cowboys’ fan. His Sunday afternoons in the fall were typically spent in front of the TV rooting for “America’s Team”. However, he was happy when the Eagles finally won their first Super Bowl in 2018.

Despite his hobbies and sports interests, he always found time for his family. He took his sons to school every day when they were younger, and he was a constant on the sidelines during their sporting events.

He would come home after a Saturday on the golf course, and take the family out for dinner and leisure time. Winter and spring break meant family trips to destinations like Florida, Mexico, Hawaii, or the Caribbean.

In his later years, he and Mrs. Owens spent their Saturdays having early dinners followed by visits to the King of Prussia Mall.

He always enjoyed fun times, and he had a boisterous and welcoming personality in social settings. His booming voice made him stand out in any room, and his flair for style would always attract attention.

He enjoyed sharing laughs with his friends, particularly swapping jokes – even corny ones.

He also found ways and time to give back to the community. In recent years, he volunteered to give rides for voters on Election Day. He loved to share his good fortune with others by cooking and distributing food plates to others on Thanksgiving and Christmas.

He is survived by his sons – Richard, Jr. (Denise), and Robert (Emily), his grandchildren Danielle and Darren, his sister-in-law and brother-in-law (Juanita and Porter Boyer), numerous cousins, nieces, and nephews.

He will also be missed by his honorary daughter Vanessa Stephens, and his young buddies Xavier, Jordan, and Damien Aviles.

In lieu of flowers, donations can be made in his name to the American Cancer Society

To send flowers to the family or plant a tree in memory of Richard, please visit our floral store.


January 13, 2022

4:00 PM to 7:00 PM
Francis Funeral Home
5201 Whitby Ave
Philadelphia, PA 19143

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