John B. W. Owre passed away at home June 6, 2018, in Hood River, Ore. John was born Dec. 17, 1962, to Darlene Esther Nelson Owre and Benjamin Lloyd Owre in Portland, Ore. He was 55 years of age at the time of his passing.
John had 41 foster brothers and sisters growing up. Some of his siblings were eventually adopted and he spent most of his youth with six of them: Suzanne, Chris, Steve, Linda, Catherine and Charity.
John attended Albina Headstart, where Joan Bailey took him and his mother under her wing. She helped to guide him with social skills, behavioral training and love. She believed in John! He then started Humbolt School for preschool and kindergarten in Portland. This was a time when students with special needs didn’t have a place in public schools and he was asked to leave. Ben and Darlene didn’t take no for an answer when it came to John’s schooling and found other options. John ultimately attended schools in Sheridan, Ore., and graduated with his high school diploma from Sherwood High School in 1983. At his graduation, he was the only student to receive a standing ovation.
John was always involved in many activities. He began participating in Special Olympics as soon as he was eligible and remained involved most of his life. Initially, he participated in running events and then branched out to shot put, golf and bowling. He was a very good bowler and enjoyed the comradery of being on a team. Bowling became a lifetime activity for John and he continued to bowl two times per week even in the off season.
While living in Sheridan, John became a boy scout with his brother, Steve. John had fond memories of the camping trips and the other group activities.
John came to Hood River in the early 1980s and moved to the Indian Court Apartments, where he lived up to the time of his passing, in 1989. He had many jobs over the years, including Mt. Hood Meadows, Pietro’s, Mid Valley Market in Odell, Ore., and most recently at Safeway. John worked for 20 plus years at the Mid Valley Market in Odell for his friends and employers, John and Kathy Alley. Kathy was instrumental in suggesting John wear suspenders, which became his signature style. He was well known by all of the delivery drivers who delivered to the market and would talk and joke with them daily.
John was always involved in church from a young age, as his father was a Methodist minister and his mother was involved with the ladies of the church and the Christian education director. He enjoyed the activities and music and knew all of the words to the songs sang in church, although the melody and John’s voice rarely were ever the same! He was always a natural greeter at every church he attended, even if he wasn’t the official greeter. He most recently attended Spirit of Grace Church in Hood River. He was a popular member and loved the fellowship.
Over the years, John made many friends during his travels around the Hood River Valley. Some of his special friends included Dave Norcross, John and Kathy Alley, Randy Bell, Ora DeMaria and pretty much every police officer in town. John and his neighbor, Dave Norcross, have known each other for decades. It wasn’t uncommon to see the two of them walking through town between the bank and Rosauer’s daily. They knew everyone along the way and frequented most of the businesses in the Rosauers shopping center. They went everywhere together; they bowled together and watched “Jeopardy” and “Wheel of Fortune” every night together. Their friendship was strong and true.
John is survived by his sisters Suzanne (Jeff), Linda and Charity; nieces Mercedes (spouse Joseph) and Olivia (partner Tyler); nephews Karen, Cody and Christopher; and numerous friends.
Services for John were held June 19 at Anderson’s Tribute Center (Funerals • Receptions • Cremations), 1401 Belmont Ave., Hood River. A private committal will be at a later date at Willamette National Cemetery of Portland, where John will be laid to rest with his parents. Visit www.AndersonsTributeCenter.com to leave a note of condolence for the family.
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