Dr. Gordon R. Owen was born in Cincinnati, OH on January 31,1924 and passed away at the Good Samaritan Society – Las Cruces Village retirement facility on September 29, 2020. Gordon was preceded in death by his parents Olga and Walter, his wife Ardis, of sixty-two years, and by his brothers Charles David and Donald Ray. He is survived by his sister Virginia Lee of Independence, CA. Also surviving are his daughter Susan Griffin and husband Terry, of Las Cruces, NM; four sons: Stephen, of Grants, NM; Dan and wife Pat, of Pearland, TX; Dr. Philip and wife Kim, of Las Cruces, NM; and Bill and wife Martha, of Tucson, AZ. He also is survived by eight grandchildren and eleven great-grandchildren.
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Gordon grew up in Indiana and entered college in 1941, where he met Ardis. He joined the Army in December 1942 and served more than 3 years in the Signal Corps, including more than a year in the China-Burma-India theatre. After returning from the war, Gordon and Ardis were married, started their family, and completed his Masters’ degree at the University of Minnesota. He was then diagnosed with tuberculosis and was treated in the Veterans’ hospitals over 19 months, leaving Ardis to care for the household and their firstborn, Stephen. Upon recovering, Gordon taught high school in Indiana and Arizona. He earned his doctorate degree from Purdue in 1962, and then moved the family to Las Cruces to join the Speech Department of NMSU. He taught more than 5,000 Aggie students during his 27 years on the faculty at NMSU, and retired in 1989, after 38 total years of teaching.
Gordon authored many academic publications, and in 1996 he published “The Two Alberts”, a history of two New Mexico pioneers, Albert Fountain and Albert Fall. A second book, “Las Cruces: Multicultural Crossroads”, in 1999 recounted the 150-year history of the City of Las Cruces. For these two works, he was inducted into the Dona Ana County Historical Society’s Hall of Fame in 2000 – and a few years later, April 18, 2006 was declared “Gordon Owen Day” in the city of Las Cruces.
Gordon and family were long-time members of the University United Methodist Church in Las Cruces, where he held several leadership positions. He and Ardis left yard work behind to spend their golden years at Good Samaritan Village and were always treated well by the staff – especially during these troubling COVID-19 times, for which his family is deeply grateful.
Gordon was known as a helpful, kind, and generous man, loved by his many friends and family – he will be missed.
A private family burial will be held and plans are in progress for a larger community memorial service in the spring of 2021. Donations in Gordon Owen’s name can be made to the University United Methodist Church in Las Cruces at uumc-lc.org, or to the NMSU Aggie Cupboard food bank at aggiecupboard.nmsu.edu.
Arrangements by Getz Funeral Home, 1410 E. Bowman Ave. Las Cruces, NM 88001. Please visit www.getzcares.com to sign the local online guest book.