Josh Owen (far right) with (left to right) Matt Knabe, Alex Cherin and Shaun Lumachi. Photo Courtesy of Mayor Robert Garcia's Facebook Page.
He was a beloved family man, a loyal son, a rotarian, and a genuine person with a passion for giving back to his community, friends said.
Last night, Joshua Owen, president of the trucking company Ability Tri-Modal and member of countless Long Beach community organizations, died while relaxing at his father’s home, according to family friends. Owens is survived by his wife and two children. He was 43.
"Life changes in a second," wrote his wife, Tessa Owen, in a personal Facebook post Tuesday.
Members of the community have flooded Facebook in tribute to Owens’ life. Long Beach Mayor Robert Garcia said tonight’s City Council meeting would be dedicated in his memory.
“This is a terrible loss for Long Beach,” said Long Beach Mayor Robert Garcia in a personal Facebook post. “Josh was a great guy with a big heart. He always had strong opinions with an ability to have respectful dialogue. Josh had a deep love of family, city and country.”
While Owen was growing up, his father, Greg ran Tri-Modal Distribution Services, a company he created that operated in the Port of Long Beach (POLB). After attending San Francisco State University for film production and starting his own production company, Owen earned a Master’s in International Logistics from the Georgia Institute of Technology and took over as President of Ability/Tri-Modal Transportation Services, Inc.
Beyond his professional life, Owen’s focus was on his family and community. His Facebook page is filled with pictures of his family and his resume is riddled with community services positions at organizations: Vice Chair of Public Policy at the Long Beach Chamber of Commerce, Board Member of the Westerly School of Long Beach, Member of the Long Beach Rotary, Advisory Board Member of California State University, Long Beach (CSULB).
These positions show just a fraction of his altruism, according to friends.
“He had the heart of an elephant and the bite of a tiger, in terms of his passion,” said UPS Vice President of Public Affairs Bruce MacRae, whose friendship with Owens goes back “decades.” “Josh still had that little kid in him. When you saw him enter a room, people would go to him, he wouldn’t have to go to them.”
“Josh was just one of the most genuine people in the world,” said Weston LaBar, founding partner of PEAR Strategies and Executive Director of the Harbor Trucking Association (HTA), who met Owen through the Long Beach Chamber of commerce. “He was one of my first friends in Long Beach. Beyond his accomplishments in trucking, he was just a great guy—that’s what I’ll always remember about Josh.”
In addition to his community service through the Rotary Club and as a school board member, Owen ran a “Condition for Tuition” program at CSULB that offered scholarships to students on who completed a minimum amount of workouts at the CSULB fitness center. His program also offered prizes to program participants, encouraging good fitness habits, according to a 2011 article from The Daily 49er.
“You’d never think it would happen to someone so young, at 43,” said Randy Gordon, president and CEO of the Long Beach Chamber of Commerce. “Josh was just one of those absolute, real gentlemen. A loveable, tender-hearted guy.”
Everyone interviewed for this story who knew Owen was unanimous in his praise and one other point: how much he will be missed.
“I’m a very positive person, but this was one of the first days in five years where it was just sad,” said MacRae. He said Owen's spirit lives on, and his memory will continue to inspire.