Elmer Eugene “Gene” Owen, 87, formerly of Scottsbluff, passed away in Ocala, Florida on November 22, 2017 with his loving wife, Dolores “Dee” of 64 years by his side. A graveside service and interment will be at Fairview Cemetery in Scottsbluff at 11 a.m., Wednesday, November 29, 2017 with Pastor Jeff Fiet officiating. The Nebraska Army National Guard will provide military funeral honors. A memorial service will be held at a later date at First Presbyterian Church in Ocala. The family requests that in lieu of flowers, memorial gifts be given to your favorite cancer charity or the First Presbyterian Church, Ocala, 511 SE Third St., Ocala, FL 34471. Online condolences may be made by visiting www.jolliffefuneralhome.com.
Gene was born on March 2, 1930, in Minatare to Elmer and Thelma Irene (Tinkler) Owen. In 1947 after graduating from high school in Grand Island, Nebraska, Gene enlisted in the United States Army. He served eleven months in Korea, mostly in combat. Gene was awarded the Silver Star, Bronze Star with V device for Valor and two Purple Hearts. After returning from Korea, Gene resumed his education at the University of Nebraska, Lincoln, where he attained a Bachelor of Science Degree in Business Administration.
Upon graduation from the University in 1955, Gene started work with The Boeing Company in Wichita, Kansas. During his 37 years with the company his assignments supported the B-47 and the B-52 bomber programs. In 1962 he went to Huntsville, Alabama, and was involved with Werner van Braun and his team of German scientists who developed the Saturn V launch vehicle which put a man on the moon. Later he moved to California and worked with Jet Propulsion Laboratory (Cal Tech) on unmanned space programs. After successful launches on these programs he moved to Seattle, Washington. He was involved in several military programs before moving to Denver, Colorado, as Business Manager on a proprietary company program. He retired from The Boeing Company in 1992. Gene and his wife relocated to Ocala in 1996.
Gene enjoyed flying his own aircraft, traveling and golf. He was a member of First Presbyterian Church, Ocala; the Robert Furnas Masonic Lodge, Scottsbluff; Life Member of the Elks Club; Clan Shaw Society; Aircraft Owners and Pilots Association; University of Nebraska Alumni Association; 7th Infantry Regiment Association and Ocala National Golf Club (formerly Golden Hills Golf and Turf Club).
In addition to his wife, Gene leaves behind his daughter-in-law, Terry Lynn Owen of Renton, WA; sisters, Virginia Baker of Nixa, MO and Wilma (Frank) Witters of Bentonville, AR; three nephews, Jerry Witters of Kirkland WA, Richard (Laura) of Las Vegas, NV and Bradford (Juli) Baker of Sierra Vista, AZ; brother-in-law, Delbert Busacker, of Lincoln; niece, Paula Dee Busacker, of Omaha; two step-granddaughters; six step great grandchildren; and many close and dear friends.
Gene is preceded in death by his parents; son, David; and sister-in-law, Georgene Busacker.