Robert Owen

Obituary of Robert Michael Owen

Robert M. Owen

Born: Feb 17, 1946 in Philadelphia, PA

Died: June 10, 2023 in Ann Arbor, MI


Robert M. Owen (known as Bob by friends and family) peacefully passed away at his home in Ann Arbor, MI on June 10, 2023.  He was predeceased by his parents Robert Owen and Alice Martin Owen, and infant sons Robert and Sean.  He is survived by his wife Susan, sons Ryan Owen (Leslie Chinn) and Timothy Owen (Kate Sasamoto), brother James Owen, sisters Lynn Owen (Robert Zwengler) and Marie Owen, nieces Gillian Zwengler and Morgan Zwengler (Joel Edick), and four beloved grandchildren: Alana Owen, Sarina Owen, Kiana Owen, and Finn Owen.


Bob was born in Philadelphia, PA, as the oldest of four children.  He lost his father at an early age and became a father figure for his younger siblings.  He became the first member of his family to graduate from college (Drexel University) and went on to earn his PhD from the University of Wisconsin-Madison. In 1975, Bob moved to Ann Arbor to begin his career as an assistant professor at the University of Michigan.  Bob was later promoted to full professor, and he had a long and decorated career at the University of Michigan, including time spent as the associate dean for undergraduate education in the College of Literature, Science, and the Arts (1998-2004), and Director of the Program in Environment from 2005-2010.  Bob was recognized by the Regents of the University of Michigan with the prestigious Arthur F. Thurnau award in 2012.


Bob had always been fascinated by the ocean, and he was able to achieve his lifelong dream of becoming an Oceanographer.  He enjoyed watching football (especially the University of Michigan and Philadelphia Eagles) and baseball (Philadelphia Phillies), traveling around the world, visiting his treasured Sea Isle City, NJ, spending time with his beloved dogs Bree and Mickey, New York Times crossword puzzles, all things Irish, and discussing life and politics over drinks.  A celebration of Bob’s life will be planned in the future.

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