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Charles Abraham Owen Jr., 1914-1998
September 7, 1998
Charles Abraham Owen, Jr., 84, a professor of English at the University for 35 years and cofounder of the Medieval Studies Program, died July 24 in Portland, Maine.
He was an internationally known Chaucer scholar, recognized as one of the world's foremost experts on Chaucer's manuscripts. After his retirement, he continued to take an active part in Chaucer scholarship and academic conferences. Among his published works are Discussions of the Canterbury Tales (1961), Pilgrimage and Storytelling in the Canterbury Tales (1977) and The Manuscripts of the Canterbury Tales (1991). At the time of his death, he was completing a compilation of his earlier works on the development of Geoffrey Chaucer's Canterbury Tales.
Owen was a member of the Modern Language Association, the New England Medieval Conference, the Medieval Academy of America, and the New Chaucer Society. A lifelong member of the Democratic Party, he was also a member of the Mansfield Democratic Town Committee for many years and president-elect of the Mansfield chapter of the United World Federalists, an organization dedicated to promoting world peace and world law.
Born in Johnstown, Penn., in 1914, Owen graduated from Princeton University in 1935. After receiving a B.Litt. from New College, Oxford, he began his teaching career as a professor at the University of Buffalo in 1938.
During World War II, he served as a captain in the U.S. Army Anti-Aircraft Artillery. From 1946 until his retirement in 1981, he taught in the English Department at UConn, where he was a full professor.
He is survived by his wife of 52 years, Mabel Welles Owen, four children and two grandchildren.
A memorial service will be held at St. Mark's Chapel in Storrs on September 26, at 11 a.m. In lieu of flowers, memorial contributions may be made to the United World Federalists, c/o Mrs. Albert Bollen, 10C Sycamore Drive, Storrs, CT 06268.