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Preacher heeded calling throughout U.S., world

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By Jerry Vondas
Friday, Nov. 23, 2012, 8:57 p.m.
 

On Sunday, Robert Owen, an Assemblies of God preacher who spent 72 years preaching the Gospel, gave his last sermon.

The topic was heaven, and he preached at First Assembly Church of God in Coraopolis.

“My father went home and died the next day,” said his daughter Christine Van Luven of Harrison City.

Her father's ministry “was a calling that began when my father as a youngster attended church services in a chapel in his hometown of Bedlinog (in Wales), which was organized by his father and his father-in-law,” his daughter added.

“My father began preaching the Gospel to the miners while working in the coal mines in Wales,” she said.

Robert Cynddylan Owen of Penn Township, retired pastor of South Hills Assembly of God in Bethel Park, died on Monday, Nov. 19, 2012, in his home. He was 88.

“It was a calling that would bring him to the United States in 1959, where he followed in the footsteps of his brother David, who was also an Assembly preacher who immigrated to the United States,” said his son-in-law, Carson Van Luven.

His calling took him to Asia, Europe, Africa and Australia in his retirement, Van Luven added.

Born and raised in Bedlinog, South Wales, Mr. Owen was one of nine children in the family of coal miner William Owen and his wife, Sarah Owen.

Like many men in that era, he dropped out of school at 14 to work in the mines.

Upon his arrival in the United States with his young family, Mr. Owen, before being called to the Pittsburgh area in 1973, was pastor of several churches in Oshkosh and Green Bay, Wis.

His grandsons Aaron and Christopher Van Luven recalled the influence their grandfather had on them.

“My grandfather was always ready to listen to anyone who had problems, whether it was in church or at the mall,” said Christopher.

In addition to his wife, Miriam Phillips, whom he married in 1945, and his daughter Christine, Mr. Owens is survived by his sons, Gerald Owen of Lincoln, Neb., and Cledwyn Owen of Wisconsin; a sister, Magdalene Greening of Wales; six grandchildren; and 10 great-grandchildren.

His family has established the Robert C. Owen Memorial Scholarship for the ministry.

A memorial celebration will be held at 11 a.m. Saturday, Dec. 1, at Calvary Assembly of God, 8653 Pennsylvania Ave., Irwin.

Arrangements are by William Snyder Funeral Home, Irwin.

Jerry Vondas is a staff writer for Trib Total Media. He can be reached at 412-320-7823 or jvondas@tribweb.com.

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