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Tuesday, May 31, 2011

Sad News From KY

Owens Auto Parts founder dies Saturday at 81 » Local News » TheTimesTribune.com, Corbin, KY

Our condolences to the family and acquaintances of Roy Lewis "R.L." Owens Jr., 81, of Corbin, who passed away Saturday, May 14. He was part of the ITRHF's Class of 1998.

Here's his obituary from the Times-Tribune:
The Corbin businessman who opened Owens Auto Parts and Garage and who was an advocate for vocational education has died.

Roy Lewis “R.L.” Owens Jr., 81, died Saturday, according to information provided by his family.

Owens, a Corbin native, graduated from Corbin High School in 1948. He worked for A&P Tea Company and the L&N Railroad.

While he worked nights for the railroad, Owens and his wife, Hettie Owens, opened Owens Muffler Shop in 1954. The business grew and is known today as Owens Auto Parts and Garage.

Owens began to offer towing services in 1957 using a 1953 Chevy one-ton truck with a homemade crane.

Throughout the years, Owens launched other businesses within the company including Owens Truck Equipment and Owens Tire Company, which sold and serviced tires for earth moving equipment used in mining and construction.

In 1974, Owens began to manufacture lubricating equipment for off-road equipment through Owens Manufacturing Company. He also designed and built a calcium pump and designed and rebuilt hydraulic air compressors for service and lube trucks. In 1987, he designed and built equipment to process used antifreeze and an oil crusher for diesel engines.

Owens also designed and built a 30-unit office building in 1984. The building is known as Falls Road Plaza.

A lifelong advocate for vocational education, Owens was appointed to the Governor’s Council on Vocational Education, Kentucky Tech Statewide Marketing Team and Vision 21 for Kentucky Tech.

In 1998, Owens was inducted into the International Towing and Recovery Hall of Fame.

After Owens and his wife retired in 2005, their daughter, Betty Sue Surmont and her husband, Steve Surmont, took over the operation of the business.

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