Owen E. Landon, Jr. of Harwichport, Massachusetts – husband, father, grandfather, and great-grandfather – died peacefully at his vacation home in Key Largo, Florida on March 30, after a long illness. He was 86.
Owen was born in 1927 and raised in Williamsport, Pennsylvania, the son of Owen E. and Helen Frantz Landon. He attended Williamsport High School and then served in the U.S. Army in Korea.
He attended Lycoming College from 1947 to 1948 and entered Pennsylvania State University in 1948 where he was active in business-related clubs, edited the college newspaper, and excelled in tennis. He captained the Penn State tennis team for two years, 1950 and 1951, and graduated in 1951 with a degree in Liberal Arts. His dedication to the university continued throughout his life. In 1982 he was honored with the university’s Distinguished Alumnus Award, and until his illness he was a frequent visitor to the campus and a PSU football enthusiast.
After graduating from Penn State, he took a sales position at the Julius Matthews Special Agency in Chicago, a company that represented daily newspapers to major national advertisers. His success earned him an opportunity to move to New York to become the company’s president in 1962 and its owner and CEO in 1975. Under his guidance and through several name changes – including Landon Associates, Inc. and later Landon Media Group – the company became the largest independent newspaper representative company in the nation, serving some 500 daily newspapers.
While working in Chicago, he met and married Virginia (Ginny) Bond of Almont, North Dakota. Together, they raised five children and subsequently settled in Westport, Connecticut where they lived until they moved permanently to Harwichport in 2001.
Other than his family and his company, Owen’s lifelong love was tennis, which he shared with his children and grandchildren. His tennis bag traveled virtually everywhere with him, and he was still competing in and winning USTA tennis tournaments into his 80s.
An issue of Ocean Reef Club Living, the magazine of the Ocean Reef Club in Key Largo, Florida, featured Owen and his family in 2009 and described tennis as the activity that for many years brought Landon family members to Florida to vacation together. At the time of the article’s publication, even Owen’s youngest grandchildren were hitting winning forehands and backhands, to his great delight.
Owen also loved – and introduced the younger members of his family to – the ocean and boating. The view from his home in Harwichport extends to Monomoy Island and its famous Point, a familiar family fishing and day-trip destination.
He is survived by a brother, Lewis Landon of North Augusta, South Carolina, and a devoted family, including Ginny and their children and spouses: Kimberly (and Paul) Adams of Brimfield, Massachusetts; Karen (and Joseph) Moore of Groton, Massachusetts; Owen E. (and Dianne) Landon III of Cohasset, Massachusetts; Mark B. (and Diane) Landon of Rolling Hills Estates, California; and Susan (and Steven) Bogue of North Kingston, Rhode Island. Ginny and Owen enjoyed and spent time with their 18 grandchildren; their first great-grandchild was born in 2012.
A private service will be held in Williamsport on May 10. The family thanks all those who have sent condolences and encourages those who wish to remember Owen to make a donation to the Jimmy Fund at the Dana Farber Cancer Institute in Boston.