In Memoriam

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Michael Gordon Owen ’62

A picture of Gordon Owen

Michael Gordon Owen ’62, January 29, 2014. Shortly after completing a BA in anthropology from Reed and graduating Phi Beta Kappa, Gordon (or Mike, as he was known) and five Reed friends were involved in an automobile accident, which caused permanent damage to Gordon’s spine. Classmates, including organizers Dave Ragozin, Paul Siegel, and Don Treiman, established the Gordon Owen Fund to assist with his overwhelming medical expenses. The fund grew with contributions from classmates, faculty, and staff, revenue from the sale of coffee and fruit, and proceeds from a bazaar, a hootenanny, a rummage sale, and a dance. Gordon later converted the funds into the Michael Gordon Owen Book Fund, which today is supports the purchase of anthropology periodicals for the Hauser Library. Gordon earned a PhD in anthropology from Yale, and did fieldwork in Mexico in Quintana Roo and in Yucatan, where he married Constance Fries, a graduate student at the University of Chicago. In 1966, he was named Honorary Sterling Fellow at Yale. He taught at the University of Washington until 1978, when he resolved the politics of academia by leaving the university and becoming a partner with Connie in a successful Copy Mart quick print business in Seattle. He retired from the business in 1994 and planned to devote time to the study of the history of Indo-European languages. Gordon served as director of the Washington Wheelchair Athletic Association. The couple lived in a home overlooking Puget Sound and also had a home at Cannon Beach. Gordon’s brother, William S. Owen ’68, died in 1965.

Appeared in Reed magazine: September 2014

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