Daniel William Owens Jr.September 28, 1923 ~ August 24, 2017 (age 93)
Born in New Haven, CT., 9/28/23, son of Daniel William Owens and Eva Martiner Owens. As a life-long resident of Branford and graduating from Branford High School in 1941, he played varsity baseball and was co-captain of basketball team. In 1942 he enlisted in the US Navy and was assigned to Yale University in the V-12 Officer Training College Program. From there he went to Midshipman School at Northwestern University in Chicago where he was commissioned and assigned to the 7th Amphibious Corps serving as Executive Officer on an LST. His group made several invasions between New Guinea and Luzon in the Philippines.
Upon discharge at the wars’ end, Lt. JG Owens returned to Yale graduating in 1948 with a Bachelors Degree. At Yale and Midshipman’s school he played varsity baseball and basketball and afterward played for John Knect’s Branford Veterans Basketball Team. The Veterans Team played the best semi-pro teams in the state and was arguably one of the best teams ever to represent Branford.
After graduation he stepped into Owens Real Estate and Insurance, the family business established in 1917. With his brother, Atty. Robert Owens, they opened offices in the Toole Building. From there they purchased the church rectory at 225 Montowese Street on the green, moved the original building to the rear of the lot and built the office building that stands there now and still houses the family business. This was the first of many joint ventures including Toole Estates, Double Beach House, Inc, Hilltop of Madison, Jefferson Woods, Summit Theatre Property, Owens Commerce Park, as well as several Florida properties. Upon the death of his brother Robert Owens, Bill continued developing with other partners and friends, most recently completing Greystone Condominiums, Stone Ridge Condominiums and Lakeview Condominiums in Branford. Completed in 1998, Neck River Farms in Madison was the largest development to date, 360 + acres including 143 2+ acre homesites sold as upscale executive homes.
Bill Owens continued to support Yale University serving on the Alumni Fund Drive and Alumni Schools Committee interviewing prospective applicants. He also held membership in the Yale Club of New Haven, New York City and Ft. Lauderdale, FL. as well as Yale Football, Basketball, and Baseball Associations.
Enmeshed in his community of Branford, Bill’s civic and political contributions included over 20 years on the Democratic Town Committee, 3rd District Chair and election to CT. State Legislature in 1950 as the first Democratic Branford Representative in over 50 years. He was also an officer or charter member of the Branford Chamber of Commerce, Branford Redevelopment Agency, Branford Insurance Council, Short Beach Zoning Board of Appeals, Chairman of the March of Dimes Drive for 2 years, and held membership in the Veterans Club, VFW, Exchange Club, and Branford Elks Club #1939.
Professional membership included serving on the Board of Directors of the Shoreline and State Board of Realtors, belonging to the State and National Independent Insurance Agents, New England Professional Insurance Association, Columbia Society of Real Estate Appraisers and National Institute of Real Estate Brokers. He also enjoyed membership in the Quinnipiack Club in New Haven, the Boca Del Mar Country Club in Boca Raton, Florida and the Pine Orchard Yacht & Country Club in Branford where he also had served on the Board of Directors. In Branford, he had been a communicant of Knights of Columbus, St. Elizabeth and St. Mary Church and in Florida, St. John the Baptist and St. Coleman Church.
He leaves behind his loving family and devoted wife Phyllis Owens of Ft. Lauderdale, FL and Branford, CT, son D. William Owens III and wife Suzanne Owens of Branford, CT, daughter Patricia Owens of Boynton Beach, FL, a grandson Eric Velleca and his wife Sarah and great granddaughter, Billi Velleca of Weaverville, NC.
If friends so desire, in lieu of flowers, memorial gifts would be welcomed by the D. William Owens Jr. Scholarship Fund c/o The Branford Foundation, P.O. Box 462, Branford, CT., 06405.
There will be no calling hours. A Mass of Christian Burial will be held at 10:00 on Wednesday, August 30th at St. Therese Church on 105 Leetes Island Road, Branford, CT.