John Owen 1930-2018
Austin Apprentice 1947-1949
John was born in Carmarthen in 1930, and attended Carmarthen Grammar School before leaving Wales for Longbridge in 1947, to become an Austin Apprentice. He did National Service in Germany then started a long and successful career at Renold Chains in Manchester, finally working in Calais as research and development director for the company. He travelled the world to work with all the major car manufacturing companies, and was at equally at home in working in Detroit with General Motors, Saab in Stockholm, or Nissan in Tokyo. He was able to take apart and mend anything – he had an encyclopaedic knowledge of car engines, built sailing dinghies from kits, and bought a succession of ever larger sailing boats, repairing and renewing them each time. He sailed with his brother Michael on many trips around the UK as part of the ‘Staggeron Club’, a group of friends in their fifties who annually chartered a boat to sail to Ireland, France and around the Mediterranean.
John retired from Renolds in 1990 and moved from Stockport to Llandudno. He had twenty eight years of happy and contented retirement in Craig-y-Don, sailing, meeting up with old friends from Renolds who had retired here with him, such as Dai Davies and David and Lillian Lowe, and receiving visits from friends who had retired from Renolds. He loved to drive and was running a car until relatively recently and loved to visit his grandchildren their annual camping trips to Rhosneigr, cooking a huge pressure cooker full of cawl to eat at the campsite. After his sight worsened he decided to give up driving, but he took to the bus with enthusiasm. He never complained about his lot and indeed was adamant, that, with a little help from his friends, he was always fine living on his own.
John relished being a Grandad. He went on holiday with family Pembrokeshire each year, driving down from Llandudno to spend time on the beaches he knew as a child, then heading off to visit his brother Michael in Somerset. He enjoyed great family Christmases in Sheffield and trips out in the Peak District. He liked to travel, and spent time visiting his son Peter when Peter was working abroad is Northern Spain and Sardinia.
John spent the last eighteen months of his life at Woodside Grange Care Home. Although dementia had caused him to be confused, he continued to have a full life with support from his carers. His illness allowed him to relive some of the many exciting things he had done in his life – we would often visit him to hear he was buying another boat, or deciding how to travel back from his work in Calais, or that he was waiting for a flight back from a business trip to Japan.
John was a gentleman. He respected everyone, was courteous, and made people smile. We will miss him terribly, but we are also inspired by how he lived his life, and will continue to draw on what he taught us as we face our own new challenges and experiences.
David and Peter Owen