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Former Rep. Owens Dies

Wayne Owens, a relentless advocate for Arab-Israeli peace and former Democratic Representative from Utah, died Dec. 18 while walking on a beach in Tel Aviv.

Owens, who was 65, succumbed to a massive heart attack while traveling with a Congressional delegation to the region.

The four-term Congressman served in the House from 1973 to 1975 and from 1987 to 1993, representing the Salt Lake City area.

During his Congressional career, he made two unsuccessful bids for the Senate. In 1974, he lost to Republican Jake Garn and in 1992 he was defeated by Sen. Bob Bennett (R-Utah). He also ran unsuccessfully for governor of the Beehive State in 1984.

A devout Mormon, Owens served as president of the Montreal mission for the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints in the mid- to late 1970s.

Despite his liberal credentials — he was the Western states coordinator for the presidential bids of both Robert Kennedy and now-Sen. Edward Kennedy (D-Mass.), and also was a staffer to the latter Kennedy — Owens was admired by Members from both sides of the aisle for his tireless work for peace in the Middle East. In 1989, he co-founded the Center for Middle East Peace and Economic Cooperation and served as its president.

Owens attended the University of Utah, later earning a law degree from that institution.

He is survived by his wife, Marlene, five children, two sisters, a brother and 14 grandchildren.

— Bree Hocking

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