SEMA eNews Vol. 15, No. 4, January 26, 2012

Industry Veteran Earl Richey Owen Sr. Passes Away

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  Earl Richey Owen Sr.

Earl Richey Owen Sr. passed away January 14, 2012, after a long battle with Parkinson's disease. He was born November 23, 1927, in Whitewright, Texas.

In 1952, he started Earl Owen Co. after working at various downtown upholstery shops. He started with one sewing machine, a table and two parking spaces. Owen's special talent for customer service and natural business savvy propelled his fledgling business. When a customer needed seats covered the next day, Owen would go to the lot, take the seat out of the car, return it to his shop, cover it, take it back to the lot, bolt it down to the vehicle and it would be ready for the fleet the next morning.

As the business grew, Owen became interested in selling auto accessories. Knowing that suppliers were reluctant to sell accessories directly to seat cover shops, Owen contacted the president of Maldevar Mats. After many conversations, Owen finally convinced him to supply rubber floor mats to Earl Owen Co, under the condition that Owen pay him upon delivery. Owen agreed, kept his word and showed other suppliers he could sell the merchandise and pay his bills on time.

Today, Earl Owen Co. is one of the largest suppliers of auto and truck accessories and equipment in the Southwestern United States. Owen attended the SEMA Show in Las Vegas every year and was constantly stopped by people who were eager to learn about him and emulate his success. Despite his achievements, he remained humble, kind and loyal. His favorite hobby was work and he traveled at the urging of his wife. They enjoyed more than 20 cruises and went everywhere from Hawaii to Dubai.

Funeral services were held January 17 at Preston Road Church of Christ in Dallas. Donations can be made to Arms of Hope at 21300 State Hwy. 16, North Medina, TX 78055

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