The Leon Owens Foundation (Foundation or LOF) was established as the result of a recommendation from family friend Karol Singleton to the wife of the late Leon “Jack” Owens after Jack’s untimely death on September 27, 1993, due to a heart attack.
Leon’s death is a great loss to wife Mary; son Darren and his wife Jamie; daughters Sharen and Karen; grandchildren Zachary, Lyndsey, Kelsey, Joshua, and Simone; siblings Audrey Mae (now passed on), Alfred, David, Larence (now passed), Brigman, Theodore, Dorothy, Marvin, the late Jesse, Shirley; friends; and Fullerton community members.
Jack was a strong family man who spent countless hours raising his three children and mentoring other neighborhood children. In discussing ways to honor Leon’s legacy, the family agreed that because of Jack’s family and community commitment, organizing to assist with student education financing and community needs would be the best way to honor the memory of Leon.
The Foundation was organized in 1993, with Leon’s widow Mary Owens named as Founder and President. The Foundation held fundraisers, beseeched community and family members for donations, and held its first scholarship banquet in 1994, awarding four scholarships. Since then, to the present year, 100 scholarships have been awarded, first under the guidance of Founding President Mary Owens, and currently, President David J. Owens. The Foundation has held picnics, gospel concerts, and has contributed funds and community service hours to many community causes. Leon’s siblings, and many other family members, are actively involved or participate in Foundation activities. Younger brother, the late Jesse Owens, designed the Leon Owens Foundation lion logo.
Over the years, numerous Foundation members, family, friends, community members, and local businesses have consistently volunteered or contributed time, professional services, and/or finances to the Foundation, in support of education, family, and community service.
On May 16, 2005, the Leon Owens Foundation held its first Charity Golf Tournament with a total of 82 golfers, including several well-known sports athletes and community business members. The golfers were treated to door prizes and dinner, hosted by Coyote Hills Golf Course and Country Club, Fullerton, California. Master of Ceremonies sports announcer and comedian Benny Ricardo, also a former NFL player, provided an evening of laughter and fun. The Foundation continues to have successful fundraising golf tournaments.
The Owens family migrated from Linden, Texas to California in the early 1940’s, first living in Fullerton, later in Anaheim, and lastly moving back to Fullerton. Parents, the late Alfred (construction worker) and the late Roxie (homemaker), believed in love, discipline, spiritual guidance, and education for their 12 children – 8 boys and 4 girls (one set of twins). The Owens’ children excelled in sports at Fullerton High School and in college, including earning numerous awards, athletic scholarships, and playing professional sports. The late Larence Owens-Jeffries was the first to graduate from college and became one of Orange Count’s first black teachers, teaching in the Fullerton Elementary School District.
love for, and honor of, the late Leon-Jack Owens, the Leon Owens Foundation has, since its inception, operated on the basis of a strong belief in family and friendship, education, community involvement, and helping those less fortunate.