Harry Philpot Owens, 88, passed away on Monday, March 9, 2020, at his home in Oxford surrounded by his loving family.
The memorial service was Friday, March 13 in the chapel of Waller Funeral Home at noon with Rev. Warren Black and Rev. Eddie Rester officiating. Burial followed in Oxford Memorial Cemetery. Visitation was Friday morning in West Hall of Waller Funeral Home.
Born in Montgomery, Alabama to the late Charles Hastings and Annie Philpot Owens, Harry was a history professor at the University of Mississippi. He was later named as the professor emeritus at the University of Mississippi in the history department.
He obtained both his bachelor and master of arts degrees from Auburn University. He later earned his doctorate degree from Florida State University, writing his PhD thesis in 1966 on Apalachicola. In 2014, this thesis "Apalachicola Before 1861" was published. Harry's work has stood the test of time, and his well-documented work has been the premier resource on the city in its heyday.
He was awarded a post-doctoral fellowship at Johns Hopkins University in Afro-American Studies. He spent several years lecturing on historical steamboat cruises.
A professor of history for 32 years, Harry was loved by all of his students. That love was exemplified by several generous gifts to Ole Miss in honor of him during and after his career. He also served on the Oxford Historical Commission.
Survivors include his wife, Mary Lou Owens; one daughter, Rebecca O. Lowe and her husband, Ed; one son, Charles R. Owens and his wife, Kellie, all of Oxford, Mississippi; one sister, Ann O. Martin of Virginia Beach, Virginia; two special godchildren, Henry and Anne Limbo, both of Huntsville, Alabama; and one stepbrother, Hugh Upshaw of Rutherford, Alabama.
Memorial contributions in Harry’s memory may be made to the Center for Civil War Research, C/O the History Department at the University of Mississippi, Post Office Box 1848, University, MS 38677 or to Mississippi Critterz, 413 McElroy Drive, Oxford, MS 38655.