Bennie Owen's daughter dies at age 98
Bennie Owen’s daughter died last Saturday. That is not a misprint.
Yes, the Oklahoma football coach of 1905-26, the man who participated in the Cherokee Outlet Land Run of 1893 and was born in 1875, had a daughter still living and thriving in Oklahoma City. Until Saturday.
I had the honor of interviewing Dorothy Ann Bryan earlier this year and wrote a column about her relationship with her father, who died in 1970 at age 94. It was one of my favorite things I’ve written in recent years, because it opened some dusty windows of history. Bryan was but a toddler in her dad’s final years of coaching, but Owen remained OU’s athletic director for many years after he left the gridiron. She was a treasure chest of old-Norman and OU memories.
You can read that column here.
Bryan lived all over the world, but her heart remained in Oklahoma. The obituary asked that in lieu of flowers, Bryan requested donations to Sooners Helping Sooners, an organization that supports former OU athletes.
Bryan’s obituary appeared in the Wednesday Oklahoman, and for those who missed it, I figured it was worth sharing:
“Dorothy Ann Bryan (nee Owen), of Oklahoma City, died Saturday. She was 98.
“The youngest of three daughters of former University of Oklahoma football coach and athletic director, Bennie Owen and his wife, Nina Bessent Owen, Dorothy Ann was born in Norman in December, 1921. She grew up in Norman with her sisters Jane and Ruth; and attended OU, pledging Kappa Alpha Theta, as her mother had before her. She married recently commissioned Regular Army 2nd Lt. Thomas Law Bryan of Oklahoma City in August, 1940. Dorothy Ann spent the next 30 years supporting her career-soldier husband and a family which grew to include three children, by making loving homes for them in locations ranging from Japan, Germany and Korea, to Hawaii, Washington, D.C., El Paso and, in 1968, Oklahoma City.
“Upon her husband's retirement in 1970, Dorothy Ann remained in Oklahoma City, where her husband worked on the staffs of then-Governor David L. Boren and, subsequently, Governor George Nigh. Dorothy Ann and Tom traveled extensively and especially enjoyed visiting their children and grandchildren in Massachusetts, Colorado, Oregon and Germany.
“She was a peerless hostess, cook and gift giver, and delivered party favors as her alter ego, the Magic Fish. Nothing was ever ‘too much’ for Tutu -- from a full traditional Thanksgiving dinner on a beach in Hawaii, to allowing her grandchildren and great-grandchildren to eat on her finest china and cook fondue as soon as they could grasp a fork. She loved Sunday dinner and hosted this meal at her home for years -- often with five generations of family at her table. Her friends remember her as someone who always listened intently and joyously to every word they said -- she thought every detail ‘marvelous!’
“Dorothy Ann was predeceased by her husband Tom and her eldest child Sandra Bryan Trudgeon of Oklahoma City. She is survived by her son Robert Owen Bryan of Corinth, Texas, and daughter Ann Bryan Stussi of Portland, Oregon; her sons- and daughter-in-law Jon Trudgeon, Helene Bryan and David Stussi; her nine grandchildren Ann Trudgeon, Kelly Isaacson (Scott), Jon Trudgeon (Katie), Jessica Horowitz (David), Cary Martin (Luke), Thomas Stussi, Sean Bryan, Megan Bryan and Randall Bryan; eight great grandsons Thomas Isaacson, Ben Isaacson, Hunter Trudgeon, Henry Trudgeon, Owen Martin, Calvin Martin, Solomon Horowitz, Simon Horowitz and much-loved nieces, nephews and family friends.
“The family wishes to thank her caregivers, Heather, Sarah, Pam, Nyeshia and Cydnee. Extra special love and eternal gratitude to Shelly and Christy. No ‘thank you’ will ever be sufficient.”
Bryan’s funeral service was held Thursday.
What a life and what a legacy, for Bennie Owen’s youngest daughter.