Owen Patterson, a long-time member, volunteer, and past director of The Fur-Bearers passed away recently in his home. He was 85.
Born September 15, 1936, in Toronto, Owen was a young rabblerouser, never content in school or with the status quo of working life. In 1958, at 22 years-old, Owen left the big city for the coast, where he found a community that was slower paced, welcoming, and full of like-minded advocates.
The bright yellow bumper stickers calling for a ban of leg-hold traps caught Owen’s eye in 1976, and drew him to the offices of The Fur-Bearers. At the small store-front office, Owen met George and Bunty Clements, who revived the idle organization in the 1960s and passionately fought for fur-bearing animals until their deaths in the early 2000s. Over the ensuing five decades of his life, Owen was a volunteer, member, and director on the board of The Fur-Bearers. Calculating the hours or scope of his contributions in this time is nearly impossible. It included everything from educating the public at events, delivering flyers, ensuring the lights stayed on, and collecting signatures on petitions.
Owen never missed a meeting or an event; he never complained that a task was too large or too small. Owen always showed up. He would often speak about donating and volunteering for a better world for animals and people as a duty and responsibility.
A dry sense of humour, a close group of friends, and a frustratingly good Scrabble player (scoring over 300 frequently), Owen was extremely loyal to his friends, always offering support and encouragement. He also loved spicy foods, particularly Indian cuisine, beer, and would put out a spread of crackers and cashews when friends or colleagues were visiting.
In 2020, The Fur-Bearers created the Owen Patterson Award, as part of our Clements awards celebrating outstanding individuals, groups and businesses who contribute to the betterment of fur-bearing animals. Asked who should receive the recognition in future years, Owen simply said, “People who love animals, and my colleagues. They’re my family.”
Owen will be missed, but never forgotten.