John Laurence Owen

John Laurence Owen, 71, of Waxahachie, Texas, transitioned this life on Oct. 18, 2020, at Baylor University Medical Center in Dallas.

Born Nov. 14, 1948, in Danville, Illinois, he was the son of Russell John and Edna Helen (Mast) Owen. He married Marlene (Woodward) on Feb. 6, 1972, at Central Christian Church in Danville.

John deeply loved spending time with his family and his dogs at his rural Texas home.

He was a graduate of Danville (Illinois) High School and the Executive Management Program at Texas A&M University, and studied at the Allied Institute of Technology in Chicago.

John had a remarkable professional journey that began with a part-time job changing oil at a Sears auto center while in high school to serving as an executive at a worldwide automotive service company.

He joined Army and Air Force Field Exchange Service Worldwide Automotive in 1974 and earned several promotions, which took him and Marlene to Abilene and San Antonio, Texas; Fairfield, Lompoc and San Francisco, California; and eventually to the company’s world headquarters in Dallas in 1990.

John led strategic business planning and sales strategy in the company’s automotive service, retail, gasoline and new car sales divisions; and was a branding and buying liaison. His business travels included military installations in Europe, the Far East and throughout the United States. He retired in 2003 as Senior Executive Business Manager.

John and Marlene also lived in Chicago and Atlanta.

John was an auto enthusiast, having owned high-performance cars and serving on a regional drag racing team in Chicago. His keen knowledge of automotive mechanics and passion for speed earned him the nickname “Turbo” by colleagues, friends and family.

John was known for his determined spirit and drive to succeed – which were evident even as a youngster. Coached by his father in Danville, John earned all-city honors as a catcher and home run hitter in youth baseball and led his teams to league and city championships. He also was a junior bowling all-city champion, and bowled in adult leagues for several years. He loved following all sports, especially the St. Louis Cardinals, the Dallas Cowboys and any form of auto racing.

John had a huge heart for people and a witty sense of humor; and he never met a stranger. He was equally at ease talking to fellow “motorheads” at local car swap meets as he was with commanding generals and U.S. senators at work.

He and Marlene worked on community causes with the Jonesboro, Georgia Jaycees and he served on the board of Assistance Dogs of Texas. He also enjoyed spending time at the Waxahachie Senior Activity Center.

He is survived by his wife, Marlene; brother, Jeffrey (Catherine) Owen of Franklin, Indiana; sister, Kristine (Thomas) Webb of Waxahachie; nephews, Adam (Kim) Owen of Columbus, Indiana and Aaron (Whitney) Smith of Mount Vernon, Indiana; niece, Amber (Sam) Culley of Red Oak, Texas; his aunt, Norma Turner of Covington, Indiana; brother-in-law Merrill Woodward and sister-in-law Lois Woodward of Catlin, Illinois; his best friend, Bob Harman of Kalama, Washington; and several cousins, great-nieces and great-nephews.

He was preceded in death by his parents.

A graveside service will be 2 p.m. (CST) Saturday, Oct. 24 at Sardis Cemetery near Waxahachie. Due to COVID-19 restrictions, we ask guests to wear a mask and to observe social distancing. The service will be streamed on Zoom at

Wayne Boze Funeral Home in Waxahachie, Texas, is handling the arrangements.

In lieu of flowers, John’s memory can be honored with a gift to the PAN Foundation, which advocates for accessible and affordable health care. (

The family would like to thank the physicians, nurses and other providers at Baylor Scott and White Health in Waxahachie and Dallas and UT Southwestern Medical Center for John’s continuing care.

Posted online on October 23, 2020