Ira Van Owen “Junior”, age 82, of Pine Bluff, died Thursday, January 10, 2013, at Jefferson Regional Medical Center. Mr. Owen was born February 16, 1930, in Lincoln County.
Mr. Owen was reared and educated in Watson Chapel, where he graduated from Watson Chapel High School. Upon graduating, he enlisted in the U. S. Navy and served four years including tours in Korea, Japan, Guam and Germany. He played on the Naval Volleyball and Football teams.
He was employed with the Mississippi River Transportation Corporation for 34 years as a natural gas plant operator.
He was a member of Olive Branch Missionary Baptist Church (formerly Olive Street) where he was Chairman of the Maintenance Committee, the Grounds Committee and was very involved with the Soccer Sports Ministry and was the designated Senior Adult Ministry bus driver, SAMS activities planner and was a member of the ABC Sunday School Class.
He was an active member and past chief of the Island Harbor Volunteer Fire Department. He enjoyed hunting, fishing and carpenter work.
Mr. Owen was preceded in death by his step father, William Thomas “Tom” Rushing, mother, Lillian Elizabeth Rushing; step brother, James Rushing, step sister, Barbara Rushing Patrick.
He is survived by his wife, Kathryn Hoover Owen, whom he married July 6, 1982, in Greenville, Miss.; son, Jeff Owen (Stacy) of Conway; daughters, Vickie Owen Huddleston (Bruce) and Jo Ann Owen West (Scott), all of Star City; step daughters, Brenda Hoover Smithwick (Charlie) of Hot Springs and Carol Hoover Hagan (Richard) of Pine Bluff; step sisters, Thelma Morris of Woodlawn, Linda Newman of Calmer, step brothers, Owen Rushing of Calmer, David Rushing of White Hall; five grandchildren, two step grandchildren, four step great grandchildren.
Funeral services will be at 2:00 p.m. Sunday, January 13, 2012, at Olive Branch Missionary Baptist Church by Ralph Robinson & Son Funeral Directors with Dr. Roger Stewart and James Anderson officiating. Burial will follow in Shady Grove Cemetery at Glendale.
The family will receive friends from 5-7 p.m. at Robinson’s Saturday evening.
Memorials may take the form of contributions to Olive Branch Missionary Baptist Church, 5130 Bobo Road, Pine Bluff, Ark., 71603 or to the donor’s favorite charity.
Online register: www.ralphrobinsonandson.com.