William Post Owen

William Post Owen Celebration of Life Friday 12 April, 2024

With his presence, his charm, generosity and knowledgeable mind, which he always was willing to share, Bill left an indelible mark on all who had the pleasure to come into contact with him.

A very handsome man who retained his charm and generosity of spirit all the time I knew him.

Be sure I will be there with my heart, soul and memories.

A man of class and charm and a gentle manner. I was fortunate to have spent a lovely day in his company that time on Nantucket. May he rest in peace.

What glorious memories; how lucky we all were to have known Bill and shared great times together.

We had countless special times with Bill and Michael on Nantucket, in London, Scotland, and Bill’s beloved Villa in France, L’ Adret du Ribas.

“Thank you, Bill, for 47 years of great memories and friendship. You were a master at bringing people together.”

We love you. We love Bill. Hoping the celebration of his life goes well and that so many wonderful memories are cherished.

We have such fond memories of Bill and he will always be in our hearts.

We will treasure our many happy memories of time spent with you and Bill. Nothing will make up for the loss of your dear Bill, but do know that you are in our hearts now and will be always.

I’m not able to express my sentiments… I’m very sad for the news but is not enough.

On the other side, I’m very pleased for the long years you have enjoyed together, and the nice atmosphere around you. What lovely memories, unforgettable for me.

We are thinking of a few words or a poem to include to all the blessings you must be receiving from all of Bill’s friends who are missing him so much, too.

Bill was patrician but also a man of the world. He liked other realms, he was tolerant and a bit progressive. Michael looked after that side.

He has been so ill and his passing became inevitable. He leaves with our blessing and thanks for his life.

William Post OWEN (1936-2024): 87 years, 9 months, and 3 days

1635: The year that the first of Bill’s ancestors arrived in America.

To the 1820s when the last of the ancestors arrived in America.

A family of accomplishment but without being ostentatious.

In 1924, Bill’s father, Benjamin Milton Owen, was a champion athlete and  Olympic competitor in the 1924 Paris Olympics.

From Bill’s earliest years of his summers spent on the beaches of Eastern Long Island through the years of growing up in the family home on POST Avenue, named after an ancestor, in East Williston, Long Island also named after an ancestor.

The years of his father’s commute on the Long Island Railroad into New York’s Pennsylvania Station to his position in the Empire State Building with a division of the then Standard Oil of New Jersey subsequently morphing into today Exxon, where one foggy weekend in July 1945 a American military plane crashed into the 79th floor of the Empire State Building where, when father Benjamin Milton Owen arrived at his desk on that Monday morning, he found shards of the broken plane scattered around his office.

Graduating from the North Side Elementary School in 1950 and enrolling along with his brother Bob at Mt. Hermon Prep School in Northfield Mass, from whence in 1954 he was headed to Yale University. Then in the summer of 1956, Bill and one of his Yale chums traveled to Europe on the fabled Andrea Doria, the pride and flagship of the Italian line which sank on its subsequent return trip back to New York after being rammed by the Stockholm, the Swedish icebreaker that fatally sliced the starboard side deep below the water line.

Then graduating from Yale in 1958 and heading to the US Naval Officer’s Candidate School in 1958 and being posted to Japan where he had a fateful and opportune meeting with the American Ambassador to Japan, Douglas MacArthur II, the nephew of the famous General MacArthur head of the Pacific Forces during WWII and administrator over Japan during the post war occupation, where it was at that meeting when the Ambassador asked Bill as to his plans after the Navy and Bill mentioned his interest in the Foreign Service and Ambassador MacArthur sternly advised Bill return to graduate school in International Studies and pursue the burgeoning growth prospects of the international business world and thus after the Navy, Bill enrolled in Johns Hopkins School of Advanced International Studies in both Washington, DC and Bologna, Italy which built the foundation for Bill’s career in International Finance at Citibank starting with his initial overseas assignment mid 1960’s to Citibank Paris on the Champs d’Elysee, the dream job.

While working in Paris, his home was on a high promontory with a view across Paris overlooking the Eiffel Tower about halfway between Paris and Versailles. This first experience, building the foundation of his lifelong love of France that continue to the very last days.

By the spring of 1968, May 1968 during the Spring Student Manifestations that swept the nation, Bill received his first management assignment as head of Citibank’s recently reopened branch in Nice, this lead to his first residence here in Vence Chemin de Pullier, where our long long time, well over 30 year friend John Long is even now living along that same road.

During these early years on the Riviera, Bill was a featured international resident along with the newest culinary sensation in the US, Julia Child then sweeping the nation with her record breaking Public Broadcasting TV show out of Boston The French Chef and the record breaking cook book, Mastering the Art of French Cooking in nearby Plascassier.

Subsequently opening and managing of Citibank’s Private Banking office in Monaco, just around the corner from Place Casino.

During these years in Monaco, which led to his relationship with the Palace and introduction/presentation to Prince Rainier and Princess Grace and even the young Prince Albert at 7 yrs, which was subsequently renewed a couple of years ago at the Thanksgiving luncheon of the American Club of the Riviera.

Bill’s brother Bob, when he was a student at the Univ of Pennsylvania in Philadelphia had the opportunity to date the sister of Princess Grace.

Before these assignments in France, Bill and his brother Bob and the family, Benjamin and Virginia Owen, while on a vacation cruise from New York to Bermuda, Bill’s brother Bob met his future wife, Nancy,  mother to his 3 nieces, Wendy/Dana/Karin and his great nieces and nephews, including our guest today, Hannah Gray, also a recent graduate of Johns Hopkins SAIS School of Advanced International Studies in Bologna, and great nephew Benjamin Smith of West Point, now a distinguished career as Captain Benjamin Smith in the US Army, now serving in Washington, DC as congressional liaison

While in Nice in 1969, Bill was introduced to Cabris and the magnificent panorama views across the Cote d’Azur and became the first residential property investor/owner in 1968 which led to his building Villa L’Adret du Ribas on Chemin Daou Ribas which he loved to his last days.

In the early 1970s his next international assignment came up which was indicated to be Bombay, however by mid 1972 he elected to return to Citibank/First National Citibank headquarters and 55 Wall Street which subsequently finally led to our meeting in mid summer, July 23 1973, as we were originally supposed to have met 2 summers previously August 1971 on my first trip to Europe during my passing through the Riviera early August 1971 but fate intervened and in was not until 2 summers later July 1973 that we finally met through another chance acquaintance through mutual friend and Citibank Colleague some  50 years, 8 months and 13 days previously to the end on Friday, April 5th, as Bill will forevermore live deep in my heart as I owe him so much.

Even without his instigation, I would never have purchased the property on Nantucket the summer of 1982 (July 5th) the day that the shopping center bank in my home town, Okla City Penn Square Bank failed and swept the New York financial markets, then as international interest rates were soaring we were designing and building the house Grey Shell , named after the grey shells on the beaches, now over 40 years ago, the summer of 1983, where our marriage ceremony was held July 19, 2013, with our many friends in attendance, including our more than 20 years friends Kaz Paradis and Nils Morner

These many years have been the most glorious, international travel, living in London, and these past 20 winters here on the Cote d’Azur, but with this loss, there is such a hole in my heart.

 

There are so many stories and anecdotes as to Bill’s loving and generous nature, these golden years.
Photos from Bill’s 80th birthday party. Click to view.