By Emily J. Minor
DELRAY BEACH — Patricia Wade Owen, a Chicago native who joined key social
philanthropic causes when she was a young college graduate, died March 15 at
age 87. She had been in the care of Hospice of Palm Beach County for about
Mrs. Owen, a lifelong smoker, died from complications of chronic obstructive pulmonary disease and had been on oxygen a good while before her death, said her daughter, Wendy Zecy.
The daughter of a Chicago ad agency executive, Mrs. Owen left Chicago in 1940 to attend Wellesley College in
Wellesley, Mass., but the political situation brought her home. Her parents,
worried about blackouts and bomb scares on the East Coast, insisted she leave
Wellesley after two years. Mrs. Owen enrolled in Northwestern University and
graduated Cum Laude with a degree in English/journalism. She was also a member
of the Kappa Kappa Gamma sorority.
In Chicago, she was a member and past president of the Service Club of Chicago, started in 1890 to help
women with social, economical and civic needs. It’s still in existence. She
also involved herself early on with another agency that is still standing: the
Infant Welfare Society of Chicago.
After college, she met and married Harry O. “Bunny” Owen, who owned a publishing business — which the couple
eventually sold to Rand McNally, said their daughter. The couple bought at the
Ocean Club in 1968 and traveled to Florida regularly. They began living in
Florida year-round in 1984 after they bought a house on Harbour Drive. She
eventually moved to St. Andrews.
Mrs. Owen was always a free spirit who enjoyed golf, travel and bridge. After her husband died in 1987, she
continued to travel. She enjoyed an African safari, went to the Galapagos
Islands, visited Hawaii, New Zealand and Australia and took a cooking class in
She also kept up with the changing times.
“She was great on the internet for a gal her age,” said her daughter. “She even took (online) classes.”
She is survived by a son, Jay L. Owen, and two daughters, Zecy and Pam Wrisley. She also leaves behind seven grandchildren and three
great-grandchildren. Services were held a few days after her death at First Presbyterian
Church of Delray Beach.