Robert Owens obituary photo
 
In Memory of

Robert Owens

September 2, 1930 - March 27, 2015

Obituary


OWENS, Robert “Dusty”. Dusty Owens, a country music singer known for such hits as “Hello Operator,” “Just Call On Me” and “Once More,” passed away Friday March 27th at the age of 84.



Born in Flint, MI to Ignatius (Jim) and Anna Kucharski, Dusty began his musical career at age 16, playing as an accordionist on radio station WWOK. Encouraged by Ike Everly, whom he met at KMA in Shenandoah, IA, Dusty took up guitar in pursuit of singing and songwriting, and in 1953 was signed by Columbia Record Co.



In 1957 Dusty...

OWENS, Robert “Dusty”. Dusty Owens, a country music singer known for such hits as “Hello Operator,” “Just Call On Me” and “Once More,” passed away Friday March 27th at the age of 84.



Born in Flint, MI to Ignatius (Jim) and Anna Kucharski, Dusty began his musical career at age 16, playing as an accordionist on radio station WWOK. Encouraged by Ike Everly, whom he met at KMA in Shenandoah, IA, Dusty took up guitar in pursuit of singing and songwriting, and in 1953 was signed by Columbia Record Co.



In 1957 Dusty moved with his wife Betty to Temple Terrace, FL. He graduated from Florida College and received his M.A. at the University of South Florida.



He dedicated himself to various careers: as motivational speaker across the U.S. and Canada, teacher, minister, and small business owner. He was a proud Rotarian with a 30-year perfect attendance record, presiding as District Governor from 1990 to 1991, as well as National Song Leader. He also served on the Temple Terrace City Council in 1989 and on the Amway Board of Directors for many years.



Dusty continued to record music and perform late in life. In 1983, along with 49 other artists, he was recognized by the Wheeling Jamboree in its “Walkway of Stars” for making the greatest contributions to country music in the last 50 years. In 2003 he established TCM Radio, an internet station devoted to classic country, bluegrass, and gospel music. On September 1, 2006 Dusty was inducted into America's Old Time Country Music Hall of Fame and performed at the 31st National Old Time Country & Bluegrass Music Festival in Missouri Valley, Iowa. “Once More” has been recorded over 100 times, by artists including Porter Wagoner, George Jones, Dolly Parton, Vince Gill, and Roy Acuff, whose rendition was officially placed in the Hall of Fame in Nashville.



“How we spend our days,” wrote Annie Dillard, “is, of course, how we spend our lives.” Always vivacious and playful —whether at the dinner table or doctor’s office, he was the consummate entertainer— Dusty invested each day with passion and purpose: he was a pilot, baseball player, bowler, linguist, technophile, video gamer, and an avid Tampa Bay Rays fan.



To family and friends he was generous in his love.



Dusty was preceded in death by his son, Phillip Owens and his sister, Patricia Robbins. Survivors include his beloved wife of 65 years, Betty Owens; his son, Loren Owens (Michele Martin); daughters, Paula Nichols (Tony) and Rachél DeLuna (Mike Caruso); brother, Richard Kucharski (Brenda); five grandchildren, Ryan & Kara Mauldin, Jorel Juncal and Tristan & Bella DeLuna, and great-grandson, Amari Gonzalez. Dusty will be remembered by his family in a private ceremony held at a later date.