Joe Owens had editorial juice across the state when he served as editorial page editor of the Bridgeport Post and the morning Telegram, predecessor papers of the Connecticut Post. And he wasn’t bashful in letting reporters know about his independent thinking on his pages. He was cozy with a variety of pols, but not so with the many scribes who cranked out news copy while he cranked out opinions. His obit follows:
Joseph A. Owens, age 85, beloved husband of Barbara (Tierney) Owens of 61 years, of Shelton, passed away peacefully on October 16, 2012 at Hewitt Memorial. He was born in Pittsfield, MA on December 20, 1926. He was a journalist in CT for over 40 years. During his long career in newspapers he worked in East Hartford, Manchester, New Britain and Bridgeport. He was editor of the editorial pages of the former Bridgeport Post and the Telegram for 20 years and had complete authority over the content of the opinions expressed on these pages. This policy started under Publisher Ray Flicker and continued under publishers John Phriem and Elizabeth M. Phreim. Mr. Owens retired Oct. 28, 1988. He was the recipient of national, regional and state journalism awards and was an active member of the American Society of Newspaper Writers and the New England Society of Newspaper Editors. In 1970 in a letter to the Univ of CT Trustees, he proposed that the hospital at the Univ of CT Health Center in Farmington be named in honor of the late Gov. John N. Dempsey. At the request of the CT Gov. Ella T. Grasso in 1977, he wrote the description on the plaque designating the official name of the facility. In the 1970s he appeared regularly as a panelist on public television programs in New York and Hartford. He was also a guest lecturer at the Columbia Graduate School of Journalism. Senator Abe Ribicoff publicly hailed him as a “giant” in CT journalism. Mr. Owens was the recipient of awards from the Judeo-Christian Women of Ffld. County and the Parents and Friends of the Mentally Retarded. He was a member of the Harry B. Bronson Country Club for 41 years. In 1980 he was appointed a lifetime member of the Hundred Club of CT in recognition of his support of law enforcement and firefighters. In addition to his wife, he leaves a daughter, Mary Theresa Vosgerichian and her husband Alan of Stratford and their two children, Katharine and Scott Vosgerichian. He was predeceased by a brother, James M. Owens, a criminal justice reporter and feature writer for the Hartford Courant in 1950s and early ’60s.
Friends and family are invited to attend his funeral services on Friday at 9:15 a.m. at the Cyril F. Mullins Funeral Home 399 White Plains Rd. Trumbull and at 10:00 a.m. at St. Lawrence Church 505 Shelton Rd. Interment in Lawn Cemetery. Friends may call on Thursday from 4-6 p.m. Memorial contributions may be made to St. Agnes Home 104 Mayflower St. West Hartford, CT 06110. For online condolences please visit mullinsfh.com.