Gary John Owens, Peng, BSc Eng, MSc Eng
It is with a heavy heart that we must announce the passing of Gary John Owens of Moncton NB Canada. Gary passed away quietly on Monday evening Jan 15, 2024 at the Moncton Hospital after a very brief illness. He was flanked by his nephew Ian, cousin Charlie Jr. and Ian’s wife Tracy who kept vigil at his side during his brief stay in palliative care. With the luck of the Irish, Gary managed to receive his final Catholic Sacrament, "Last Rights" (sacrament of the sick) from Father Angus before passing quietly.
Gary was born Zweibrucken West Germany on March 7 in 1957 just in time for Saint Patrick’s Day. With a shock of Foxy Red Curly Hair and Big Blue eyes like 2 Moons, and more freckles than you can count, Gary was a cute wee little fella. Gary was extremely intelligent and was very gifted academically. After moving to Canada and eventually settling back in the Owens heartland in Moncton New Brunswick, Gary attended and graduated with high honors from Harrison Trible High School.
Gary went on to attend the University of New Brunswick, where he first earned a Bachelor of Science in Civil Engineering and then a Master of Science in Engineering in Air Transportation in 1983. Gary started his career with Transport Canada, principally in Airport Engineering working on airport and runway construction which he enjoyed very much. He later took a position with Marine Atlantic where he managed many construction projects for wharves, piers, and docks. Gary later became a successful consultant engineer on many projects in New-Brunswick, Newfoundland and Labrador. He eventually started a successful Home Inspection business in Moncton. He was also a proud career-long member of the Association of Professional Engineers and Geo-Scientists of NB (APEGNB).
Gary was a very kind and caring son and took great care of his mother. He was a fiercely loyal and dear friend to very many people. Although he could be known to be a wee bit feisty and sometimes a tiny bit cranky, he had a wonderful sense of humour, and at his core, he was very tender-hearted. He loved his family dearly and was not afraid to speak frankly with them and offer well-intentioned tough truths, advice, and wisdom, even if it wasn’t solicited.
Gary dearly loved New Brunswick and its wilderness and especially Kent County/Salmon River, the Mirimachi and Renous Rivers and Albert County. Gary loved hunting Birch Partridge and sometimes even Spruce-Partridge and Rabbits along with Moose and white-tailed deer. He also loved trout fishing by fording his way up little wee brooks like his ancestors and Salmon Fishing on New Brunswick’s majestic rivers. Gary loved Atlantic Canada in general but especially loved Newfoundland and Labrador and had an affinity for its people.
Gary was also a motorbike fan and rode a street bike in his youth and later loved driving his 3 and 4 wheelers deep in the woods with his buddies and cousins. He also loved watching Boxing and was extremely proud of his Dad whose fighting name was "Billy the Kid Owens" aka "Billy K.O." who won several Maritime Tournament Championships in the 1930s. He also liked hockey and eventually grew to love Football, especially the New England Patriots who sent him a wonderful massive authentic autographed jersey that draped him like a toddler.
Gary was branded with the nickname GNU, by his cousins Jimmy, Charlie, Johny and Rodney Owens in reference to the 1980s Canadian kids T.V. show "Gary-Gnu with the Gnu-Gnews". Gary took the name in stride and eventually learned to like it, a testament to his humour and character. Gary Owens especially loved spending time with his friends, and cousins deep in the woods and in his later years with innumerable online friends as he became less mobile.
He was also a talented musician and could play the Irish Bodhran drum as well as any man. He could keep wonderful rhythm to Irish reels and Jigs played by his cousins Jimmy on fiddle and Charlie on Guitar. Gary loved Irish music, especially the fiddle and Irish ballads by Tommy Makem and the Clancy Brothers along with Canadian Maritime Celtic music. His favourite Irish Tune Was "Gary Owen’s Army" sung by many Irish Troop’s and adopted by the US Cavalry by Col. Custer. His favourite lullaby was "Clan Owens’ Wild Banshee" aka "Castle of Dromore" and "October Winds". His favourite Limerick was "Dick D’Arby" sung by Tommy Makem. His favourite Rebel tune was "The Risin O’ the Moon" sung by Tommy Makem and The Clancy Brothers".
Gary was also an avid storyteller and writer and never let a few facts get in the way of a good yarn. Rather, he crafted his tales around carefully chosen facts, a skill he learned well from his Aunt Annabelle Owens. It was little known that Gary was a registered Joke writer, some of which, were reportedly sold to famous comedians including Rodney Dangerfield and possibly George Carlin. In his later years, he was working on manuscripts to document tall tales. He was also writing out ancient knowledge of nature passed down from his Irish Immigrant Lumbermen ancestors and Mi’Mac Natives they lived amongst in New Brunswick.
In Gary’s later years, Ian and his wife Tracy took great care of their uncle Gary, and each had the patience of Job in helping Gary through his tough health struggles. Gary will especially be missed by his longtime close buddy Rock and his son Andre Turpin and Gary’s neighbours of 50+ years George and Linda Hayward. Gary’s innumerable online friends in various forums will also undoubtedly miss his wit and humour, especially the online "Mudcats". Gary will be sadly missed by his nephew Ian and his family as well as his many surviving cousins, especially Jimmy, Charlie and Johny Owens.
It is requested that you pray for the repose of the soul of Gary Owens and all his deceased relatives and friends so that he may be welcomed up in heaven. Special Thanks to the Moncton Hospital Nurses for all their saintly Patience and kindness. There will not be a formal funeral or wake as per Gary’s request.