In Memoriam

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Homer Leroy Owen ’50

Homer L. Owen ’50, August 2, 2010, in St. George, Utah. Homer enlisted in the U.S. Army Air Force in 1942 and flew 50 missions out of Italy as a radio operator and ball-turret gunner in B-17 bombers. During one raid on oil fields in Ploesti, Romania, four of the seven planes in Homer's squadron were shot down. Homer's plane returned to the airfield with more than 100 flak holes, to the frustration of the ground crew who had to repair them. After the war, he came to Reed and earned a BA in history. He and Marjorie Emery ’49 were married in 1947; they had two sons. In 1954, Homer and Marjorie were both called before the House Un-American Activities Committee for its hearings in Portland. Homer testified about his activities in the Communist Party; according to historian Mike Munk ’56, Homer also named names, reporting 21 former classmates to the committee as having been affiliated with the party. Some classmates lost their jobs or suffered other consequences as a result of this exposure. After Reed, he earned an MA in industrial relations from Cornell University. Most of his working career was spent with Blue Cross Blue Shield; he retired as director of internal auditing in 1989. Homer is survived by Marjorie, his sons, six grandchildren, a sister, and a nephew.

Appeared in Reed magazine: December 2010

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