Lewis H. (Hardy) Owens, a member of the Greatest Generation, passed away on July 6, 2017 at age 95. He was born December 4, 1921, in Wardell, Missouri to Oscar S. and Laura Pannel Owens. When he was 11 years old, his mother died and his paternal grandparents, Marion and Della Smith Owens, raised him. After receiving a degree from Capitol College of Pharmacy in Colorado, he began working at Republic Drug Stores in Denver. It was there that he met his future bride, Nelda Kelley. Married October 2, 1942, they would have celebrated their 75th anniversary in three months.
As a Navy Corpsman during WWII and assigned to the 2nd Marine Division, Hardy participated in the Battles of Guadalcanal, Tarawa, Cape Gloucester, Bougainville, Rabaul and several other Pacific islands.
In 1947 he purchased a drug store in Otis, Colorado where he became an active community participant. With no doctor in town and with his medic training in the military, he served as the town “quasi doctor” sewing up cuts, giving shots and providing ambulance service to the nearest hospital.
He was a member of the Otis school board and served for many years as the announcer for high school football and baseball games. As a member of the Washington County hospital board, Hardy spearheaded the efforts to bring a nursing home to the county. He was a lifetime member of the VFW and a member of the Ritual team which paid tribute to deceased military members. He served on the Otis city council and donated many hours to projects the Lions Club provided for the town. He was a 68-year member of the Masonic Lodge.
In 1966 Hardy had the opportunity to purchase a drug store in Eaton, Colorado and move closer to the Rocky Mountains that he loved. After 48 years in the pharmacy business, he and his wife Kelly retired in 1989. In 1998 they moved to Valrico, Florida to live near their daughter and in 2011 relocated to Lenoir City, Tennessee where she and her husband were moving.
Left to cherish his memory: his wife Kelly Owens, sons Leland (Corky) Owens and wife, Sandy and Ron E. Owens; daughter, Marcia Bailey and husband, Rick; grandsons, Larry, Garry and Eli Owens, Eric, Kevin and Patrick Bailey; two great-grandsons and six great-granddaughters; sister, Lozettie Chappell; five half-brothers, Oscar, Benny Wendell, Jerry and David; half-sister, Carolyn Phelps.
Preceding Hardy in death are his parents and grandparents, his brother and best friend, Malphers (Jack) Owens; his sister, Narene Mangrum, and a baby brother, Dwight.
Funeral services are July 17, 2017 at the East Tennessee State Veteran’s Cemetery, 2200 East Gov. John Sevier Hwy, Knoxville, TN 37920 at 11:30 a.m. with military honors.
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