Obituary for Owen Sims Garner
Lt. Col. Owen Sims Garner USAF (Ret.)
B. April 2, 1933 Hamden, CT
D. October 12, 2020 Copley, Ohio
Owen (Dad, “Poppy”) passed peacefully from his home into the arms of Jesus after a long and
determined battle with Parkinson’s disease. He was a 1951 graduate of The Loomis School in Windsor,
CT, a 1955 graduate of Trinity College in Hartford CT with a ROTC commission. He graduated in 1956
from class 57-O Pilot Training at Vance Air Force Base in Enid, Oklahoma, going on to fly B-25 bombers
and KC-97 refuelers in the cold war from Labrador to Texas. His last 18 months in active duty were spent
at Barksdale AFB in Louisiana. His first son, Richard, was born while he sat at the end of the runway
awaiting orders to take off for the ill-fated Cuban Missile Crisis.
After leaving active duty he remained in the active reserve for 28 years as the Southern New England
Liaison Officer for The Air Force Academy. During that time, he graduated from the USAF War College.
He retired as a Lt Colonel. He became an avid sailor while raising his family, sailing from Martha’s
Vineyard to greater New York City, saying it was the same as flying, just slower. He returned to flying as
a hobby in his happy retirement years in Southport NC, near his son John, where he also served as an
airport commissioner for the Cape Fear Regional Jet Port - Howie Franklin Field for 19 years.
He was an avid ham radio operator (K1AF) from age 16 to shortly before his passing where he made and
kept many close friends around the country. In 2019, he and his wife Libby of 64 years relocated to
Copley, Ohio to be close to their daughter Sharon, who married an Akron, Ohio native. Playing the
piano brought him and others great joy. As a resident of Concordia at Sumner in Copley, many of the
residents called him “The Piano Man” due to his playing the oldies on their beautiful baby grand in their
new east wing. His civilian career was spent in management at the Southern New England Telephone
Company where he retired after 25 years.
He was predeceased by his father Grady Leon Garner, his mother Sylvia Jane (nee Owen), sister Cynthia
Ruth (age 4). He is survived by his beloved wife of 64 years Elizabeth “Libby” (nee Dougherty), sister
Betsey Garner Hendrick, sons Richard (Robin, nee Brennan) and John and daughter Sharon (Steve Buie)
plus eight grandchildren Jessica Garner James (Joshua), Rick Garner Jr. (Natalie), Joshua and Ben Garner,
James Buie (Amanda) Andrew Buie, Levi and Tori Garner and five great grandchildren (Aiden, Noelle,
Allyson, Owen James and Sophia Garner) and growing!
Owen will be laid to rest in Whitneyville Cemetery in the Garner Family plot in Hamden, CT. Due to
COVID-19 risks and other family health concerns, end of life ceremonies will be delayed for several
months. Details will be forthcoming.
The family would like to extend their sincere gratitude to the staff and aides at Concordia at Sumner for
their fine and compassionate care of Owen and Libby, as well as Ohio Living Home Health and Hospice of
Akron and Senior Helpers. Special thanks to Emily Dorland and all the aides of Concordia, Tracy Hammer
RN and Kelly Yaeger of Hospice and Tammy Caggiati of Senior Helpers. In lieu of flowers, gifts can be
sent to Ohio Living Home Health and Hospice (83 North Miller Road, Suite 101 Fairlawn, Ohio 44333,
330.873.3468) or the Michael J. Fox Foundation for Parkinson’s Research.