Who was Dr. TJ Owens?
Dr TJ Owens was a man of stature, a man who tried to make the lives of people better. Dr. TJ Owens, former Dean of Students at Gavilan College was not just an educator. He was a civil rights champion, the president of the Gilroy School Board and, for four decades from San Jose to Salinas, Dr. Owens inspired, coached, cajoled, and in a few cases even rescued young people. He was legendary for his style as well as his smile.
After receiving a bachelor's degree in physical education from CSUF, Dr. TJ Owens earned a master's degree in counseling from Santa Clara University and a doctorate in community college administration from the University of San Francisco. Owens was proud of his athletic background and would often say that the football scholarship he earned from California State University, Fresno, was the catalyst for his future in education.
Owens was a member of the national organization 100 Black Men, the Rotary Club and was president of the Gilroy Unified School District Board of Education. He was elected for his second term in November 2002 and would have been up for reelection in November 2006.
The father of five, he was also an active member of Bethany Church in Gilroy. He was a man who was very devoted to his spiritual life and was always counted upon in terms of his service and volunteering. Owens served as president of the San Jose chapter for the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People during "turbulent times" for the black community.