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Honoring Dave Owens – the man with all the keys

In the previous issue of the Southern Utah News, an obituary was published for Dave Owens who only recently passed away, and whose funeral was the same week. Among the outpouring of condolences and mourning was a significant tone of good memories and a lasting legacy of hard work on behalf of the community - rather than run each individual submission, the SUN team decided to aggregate them in the following article.

From left to right, photos courtesy of the Owens family:

  • Stacy, Dave III. and Dave - proving that all of these causes and programs were family businesses. Photos courtesy of the Owens family.

  • Dave and Stacy in the football announcer’s booth. Dave was MC, scorekeeper and DJ for many, many Cowboy home football games.

  • Of all his titles and responsibilities, Dave was most proud of being “Grampa Tootie” to his beautiful granddaughters, baby Sofia on the left and Sasha on the right.

  • When Dave was on the headset, he was in charge – he called the show!

Dave played many roles in his community. His paying job was working IT for the Kane County offices and courthouse, a role at which he made so many significant changes that, according to former Clerk/Auditor Karla Johnson, he was “absolutely priceless.”

County Human Resources Director Rhonda Gant said of Dave, “His contributions make the County run … I can’t imagine these offices trying to do their day-to-day without Dave’s improvements. It’s like he brought the place into the modern era.” More than one person who knew Dave recalled the massive key rings he had, a significant metaphor for his responsibilities around the county. Gant says of Dave’s experience and willingness to assist, “His institutional knowledge was so much appreciated. I don’t know what we would have done without Dave, in the beginning and over the years.” Dave worked at the county for over 30 years before retiring in late 2020.

Another of Dave’s foremost contributions to this community was to the arts. Linda Alderman- Briscoe, a longtime theater and music associate provided some insight on Dave’s time working as a stage manager and technician: “Dave Owens is unique as they come … Dave loved the arts. He loved doing a musical performance, at the controls, making it happen on the technical end of it … lights, sounds, scenery, displays, etc. … Dave would literally work all day at his paying job then spend volunteer hours into the night at the auditorium or event venue. Not alone - with his crew. He’d order food for everyone he was working with, then they’d get at it. We could rehearse all day, but when the night came the stage was all his to work his magic on.”

Dave was the head of the Symphony Board at the time he passed, and one member of the board recalls that even in his final days of failing health, Dave would still attend board meetings and perform his role admirably.

Alderman-Briscoe continues, “He always gave his crew credit … and he never left a venue dirty or unorganized. When Dave was done, you never knew he was there except for the upgrades he made. Dave always left the place better than it was when he got there … Dave had a loyal crew that he expected a lot out of, and they gave him what he expected. Most of them were pallbearers for him … including his sons. He loved his family and having them be a part of his volunteer work. When Dave got on the headset, he was in charge, he ‘called the show.’ Lights, sound, stage crew and set movement. He perfected his craft.”

Once again alongside his family, Dave was heavily involved in the athletics programs in Kanab. Says Bucky Orton, longtime football coach for the Kanab High School Cowboys, “I asked Dave if he would be willing to be the announcer and voice of the Kanab Cowboy Football Program. I had no idea at the time just how valuable having Dave be a part of our program really was. He and [his wife] Stacy not only showed up before everyone else got there, but they were always the last to leave.

“Dave spoiled me to the point that he’d even stay to shut down the lights and scoreboard after games. He wasn’t just an announcer, Dave helped with carbo-load dinners, fundraisers, the tech in the announcer’s booth, sound systems, highlight videos, coordination with fire trucks and officers for parades and state championships. There was no job too big and no job too small for Dave … he and Stacy volunteered to help youth football games, there were days we’d play four or five games back-to-back and he’d be there for them all - he loved to call the numbers of young players to make them feel important … I often heard parents from opposing teams sing Dave’s praises. Everything he and Stacy did were on a volunteer basis … he took great pride in watching his two sons, Dave Jr. and Tegan, out on the field, or his daughter Kylie dancing as a Lariette.

“In most cases volunteers fade out when their kids leave the program. This was not the case for Dave and Stacy. They were there for their kids and for the long haul. Dave was a true servant, I cannot begin to imagine the hours he donated to the betterment of our program. Dave is an amazing example of what a true Kanab Cowboy stands for. Following every Cowboy victory, you could always count on Dave to play ‘Should’ve been a Cowboy.’ He was raised in Emery County, but he bled Red and was a true Cowboy at heart. Dave, you will be missed, you have forever left your mark on Kanab.”

Dave’s voice was a hallmark for Kanab, announcing not only football, but also many other athletics programs, as well as county and city events like parades and holiday festivities. Dave also participated in emergency medical service roles like EMT training and Disaster Control. Dave will be missed in his passing, but even more he will be remembered by his lasting legacy that continues to improve the lives of those who knew and worked with him.




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