SK2c Richard Allen Owens

Unknown Sailor

SK2c Richard Allen Owens

Richard Allen Owens was 19 in June 1936 when he left Holyoke in far northeast Colorado to join the Navy.

He soon seemed to enjoy his new world, sending letters, photos, and mementos home, including salt and pepper shakers made from 50-caliber brass bullet casings.

In one teasing letter in January 1939 he wrote to his parents: “How did Santa treat you? He did OK by me — Gave me a very nice box of chocolates and a very attractive (6 x 8) photo (You guess who. I ain’t talken).”

Mr. Owens was born March 3, 1917 to Roy Owens, an assessor, and Emma Owens, a homemaker. The son graduated from Holyoke High School in 1934 and worked with his father before he enlisted. Holyoke was the seat of Phillips County, but in the 1930s lost about 10 percent of its population. Nebraska was 13 miles east and less than 30 miles north.

Mr. Owens was one of three men from Holyoke who died on the U.S.S. Arizona in the Japanese attack on Pearl Harbor, Dec. 7, 1941.

He most likely knew John Virgel Zeiler before they were assigned to the Arizona even though Mr. Zeiler was four years younger. Holyoke’s population was 1,150 in 1940, and both grew up there. They were remembered at a joint memorial service in 1942. Owens was a storekeeper and petty officer second class. Zeiler was a seaman first class.

The Zeiler-Owens-Lindsay VFW Post 6482 in Holyoke is named in their memory, as well as that of a third Arizona sailor with Holyoke ties, James Mitchell Lindsay. HIs family was in Alabama when he died, but his wife, Winifred, and year-old son, Terril, were living with her parents in Holyoke. They married in California in 1939. Lindsay was a shipfitter and petty officer second class on the Arizona.


Sources: The Holyoke Enterprise, Sherry Cline, Kelli Brown, The Denver Post, California marriage record, US Census, Navy muster rolls, Social Security application and claim; Defense Department.  This profile was researched and written on behalf of the U.S.S. Arizona Mall Memorial at the University of Arizona.

NOTE: If you are a family member related to this crew member of the U.S.S. Arizona, or have additional information, pictures or documents to share about his life or service to our county please contact us through our FAMILY MEMBER SUBMISSION FORM