Owen L. Kepley, age 79, of Ulysses, Kansas, died Monday, November 4, 2019, at Bob Wilson Memorial Hospital in Ulysses, Kansas. He was born February 8, 1940, in Ulysses, Kansas, the son of Merle and Jewel (Withrow) Kepley.
He was stationed on both sides of the Pacific Ocean during his 20 years of service in the U.S. Navy. He began as a radarman, was as an air controller for planes flying missions, served in the Vietnam War, trained riverboat sailors, and for his last assignment, requested stationing in Japan, where he served aboard the USS Worden.
Owen would often recount stories of working alongside sailors from different countries, learning about different customs and bonding over naval duties that cross cultures and international borders.
While stationed in Vallejo, California, he married Kay Baggett in Reno, Nevada. They celebrated their 50th anniversary on August 30, 2019.
After returning to Ulysses in 1979, he worked for more than 25 years at the Grant County Road and Bridge Department. He spoke highly of his coworkers there, enjoying the camaraderie of “The Shop” and years-long interactions with employees from different backgrounds.
Throughout his life, he liked reading books on military history and U.S. presidents, particularly Abraham Lincoln. Owen also enjoyed western and war movies, University of Kansas basketball and the Green Bay Packers.
As a boy, he attended school in Grant County before graduating from Grant County Rural High School and attending Emporia State University.
Owen is survived by his wife, Kay, of their home; and son, John Kepley of Ann Arbor, Michigan.
He is preceded in death by his parents, and an infant brother.
Per Owen’s request, his burial will be at sea conducted by the United States Navy. Memorial contributions may be given to David and Amanda Kepley Family Fund in care of Garnand Funeral Home, 405 W. Grant Ave, Ulysses, KS 67880.