Catherine Ellen Owens 1928-2020

Swan Song

On Monday, March 2, 2020, Catherine Ellen Chussler Owens, 91, passed away at home from heart conditions. She was born July 15, 1928 in Jamaica, South Long Island, New York, to Margaret (O'Neill) and Joseph Walter Chussler. Her older sister Peggy, brother John, and younger sister Theresa were all deceased before 1989.

In 1940 the family moved to Elizabeth, NJ, where she graduated from Blessed Sacrament grade school and from Battin High School in 1945.

After receiving a full-tuition scholarship from Rider College (now University) in Trenton, N.J. she graduated cum laude with a Bachelors of Science in Journalism and a minor in business. By attending college all year she graduated in August, 1948 when she was 20. Besides being editor of the college weekly "Rider News," she worked at Goldberg's Department Store in the credit department her entire time in college.

After graduation she worked on a weekly newspaper in Union, N.J. and answered an ad for a reporter for a weekly newspaper that didn't say where. The ad was for the Silver State Post in Deer Lodge, Mont. where her new life began on May 23, 1949. In 1950 she met a new Deer Lodge pharmacist Frank Owens. He was persistent and they were married Dec. 30, 1950 in Elizabeth, N.J. and then returned to Deer Lodge. Frank passed away Sept. 10, 2011, after almost 61 years of marriage.

In 1954 they purchased the Clinic Rexall Drug, where she was the bookkeeper and in charge of merchandise, window dressing, sink cleaning, ads, etc. They built their new store building on Main Street in the fall of 1970. Jack and Gloria Andersen bought the store from them in 1988.

The three Owens sons are Stephen of Deer Lodge, Richard in Anchorage, AK and Neil and Colleen (Thompson) Owens of Deer Lodge. Dr. Haley Anne Owens and Koby W. Owens are her very special grandchildren and other children special to her are Margaret and Aidan Thompson. Other survivors include her only sister-in-law Anne Chussler of Brick, N.J., one niece and two nephews in New Jersey and three nieces and two nephews in California and Washington.

Catherine was chairman and the first woman member of the Powell County High School Board of Trustees, a 70-plus year member of the Deer Lodge Woman's Club, served as president of the Catholic Ladies Guild, was a Eucharistic minister in church, long-time PEO member and was an active volunteer for the Powell County Memorial Hospital Auxiliary, William K. Kohrs Memorial Library, Rialto Theatre and many other civic activities. She enjoyed playing bridge, entertaining, traveling, reading, jigsaw puzzles and following local sports and was mentally sharp up to the last day. She especially treasured the time she was able to spend at "The Cabin" up in the Swan Valley.

Parish vigil will be at 7 p.m. Friday, March 6 at the church. Funeral Mass will be at Immaculate Conception Church, 605 Clark St. in Deer Lodge Saturday, March 7, at 11 a.m. Burial will be at Hillcrest Cemetery following lunch at the St. Mary's Center.

Memorials would be appreciated by Immaculate Conception Church, P.O. Box 786 in Deer Lodge, Rialto Community Theatre, Box 874, Deer Lodge, Kohrs Memorial Library, 500 Missouri Ave, the Powell County Community Foundation, P.O. Box 834, or your personal choice.


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