Norman C. Owens died peacefully on May 2 at the Iroquois Resident Home in Watseka. He was born to Ralph and Wilma (Criss) Owens on June 15, 1940 in Jasonville, Indiana where he grew up.
Norman earned his Bachelor’s and Master’s degrees from Indiana State University. He began his 38 year career as a history teacher at Sheldon High School in 1962. He taught at Watseka High School from 1970 until his retirement in 2000. Mr. Owens was a dedicated and talented teacher, beloved by his students and respected by his colleagues. History was his passion. In his spare time, he enjoyed reading about American history, traveling to historic sites, and visiting cemeteries and battlefields. He also loved Dixieland jazz and the St. Louis Cardinals.
Throughout his adult life in Sheldon and Watseka, Norman was engaged in school, professional, and community activities. He was a member of local, state, and national education associations. He served as a member of the Sheldon Library Board, the Sheldon School Board, and the Watseka Library Board. For many years, he was a volunteer for the Iroquois Memorial Hospital and the Iroquois Memorial Hospice program. In his final days, he was grateful for the care he received from Hospice. He was also a volunteer for the American Cancer Society Relay for Life and was an Illinois ambassador to the National Relay for Life Celebration on the Hill in Washington, DC.
His contributions were recognized with numerous awards and honors throughout his life, including the DAR Outstanding Iroquois County Teacher of American History Award, the 2000 Walmart Foundation Teacher of the Year Award, the 2004 Modern Woodmen Hometown Hero Award, the 2006 Times Republic Citizen of the Year Award, and the 2012 Watseka Community High School Academic Inspiration Award.
In addition to his wife of 34 years, Beverly, he is survived by his sons: John (Anita) Owens, Watseka, and children Mike, Kyle, Kayin, Jacob, Adam, and Andrew; Dr. Robert Owens, Wichita, KS; his stepchildren: Bryan (Gail) Luecke, Mt. Juliet, TN, and children Kyle, Katie, and Claire; Curtis (Heather) Luecke, Watseka, and daughter Ashley (Jeff) Ward; Rachel (Dan) Lucking, Clinton, MA, and children Christian and Briana. He is further survived by his brother-in-law and sister-in-law Tom and Marsha Rossiter, Oshkosh, WI, and children Mitch, Stuart, and Lee.
Visitation will be held from 1:00 – 4:00 pm on Saturday, May 12, with the service following at 4:00 pm. Committal service will be on Sunday, May 13, at the Fleming Cemetery, York Township Indiana, at 12:00 noon Central Daylight time. Memorials may be made to the Iroquois Memorial Hospice, or donor’s choice.