Dr. George E. Owen, age 89, of Eau Claire passed away on Tuesday, June 8 2021 at Azura Memory Care in Eau Claire.
Born in Hannibal, MO on June 27, 1931, George and his brother Bill were the product of tough love and hard work. The family moved 14 times across Missouri for his father’s civil engineering jobs before George’s high school graduation. As a youth, George was responsible for an acre of vegetables, chickens and a calf for family food during the Great Depression, which created a lifelong love of gardening. Some of his fond youthful memories were of a hunting shack on the Mississippi, swinging on a rope swing and setting catfish trap lines with his father, spanning the river. He was a highly decorated Eagle Scout and a lifelong St. Louis Cardinals fan.
Factory work, paper routes, and ditch digging for his dad’s company convinced George of the value of higher education. As he was a good student, his college professors in Missouri convinced him to apply to Cornell medical school. For small-town George, this new world as a New York City medical resident was exhilarating. He had a taste of the big city pleasures-symphonies, plays, and his unexpected favorite, ballet. There he met his wife and lifelong love, Janet Mitchell, a fellow Midwesterner. After moving for his medical internship and residency and the birth of Holly and Tim, he was courted in 1963 by Midelfort Clinic in Eau Claire. There Chris was born and they happily made their home in Eau Claire for the rest of their lives.
Intellectually curious, George loved his work, and continued to be a great student in any medical area. For George, patients and their symptoms were always a challenging and exciting problem to solve. He was encouraged and trusted to be the ‘resident expert’ in various fields-cardiology, infectious disease, and gerontology, until a specialist in that field came to town. Many stories are remembered about lives saved by George’s proper diagnosis and resulting treatment. He often commented on the honest, hardworking people of the region and his privilege in serving them.
He and Janet enjoyed many activities-The Guthrie Theater, travel, hosting friends, golf, but most of all, sailing, with trips to Greece, Puget Sound, the Caribbean, and other destinations. Janet was by his side in all of life’s adventures, supporting him in his career and as his enthusiastic social partner in the community. Her passing in 2015 left him lonely in recent years. Until his death, he was lovingly cared for by his son Tim and family.
He is survived by his children, Holly (Fresno, CA), Tim (Eau Claire) and Chris (Duluth/Bayfield), their spouses and four grandchildren, who are all thankful for the strong values and the role model he left for us. He leaves behind many former patients and colleagues who appreciated his friendship and his service to the community.
Memorial Service will take place at 11 a.m. on Tuesday, June 15, 2021 at Hulke Family Funeral Home, 3209 Rudolph Road, Eau Claire, WI 54701. Visitation will take place from 10 a.m. until the time of service at the funeral home on Tuesday, June 15, 2021. Burial of Ashes will take place at Lakeview Cemetery, Eau Claire, immediately after the memorial service.
In lieu of flowers, contributions in his name to the Alzheimer’s Association or to a charity of your choice would be welcome.
Friends and family may offer condolences online at www.hulkefamilyfh.com.
Hulke Family Funeral Home & Cremation Services, 3209 Rudolph Road, Eau Claire, WI 54701 is assisting the family with the arrangements.
To send flowers to the family or plant a tree in memory of Dr. George Owen, please visit our floral store.