Blog | Interfaith Church of Australia

Rhys Owen – In Memorium

February 28th, 2013

Today I attended the funeral of someone who had a great impact on my life.

William “Rhys” Owen was someone I met somewhere around 2005. Our early conversations were at a time when I was finding myself again, or maybe re-inventing myself would be a better term.

We discussed the world, where it was, where it was going, and even more importantly, where it should go and how to direct it there. His ideas were very close to mine, things that included the abolition of discrimination and the advancement of the word acceptance (to replace tolerance). We talked about who we knew that could help us to promote community and the possibilities about more liberal retirement homes, new religious organisation, comparative religion in schools, the whole gamut.

Rhys was a very charismatic man and I was enthralled. Like me, he never saw himself as a leader, he was happy to be the ideas man behind the scene, but he also accepted that sometimes this just wasn’t possible. He believed leading from the back and letting others claim the kudos would achieve the same goals, and I still believe he was right in this. Despite not wanting to be seen as a leader, he was, and he was infectious to others who could do the same thing. Though he may have seemed to have a small footprint, this was just an illusion. I only realised this when speaking with colleagues at his funeral, when I heard the same story from others who had be equally influenced by him.

I lost touch with Rhys just after he got married. I found this a little sad, but I was very busy and I knew he was busy with his folk music, so I simply accepted it and figured we would meet up later on down the track. I regret this now, later will not happen until I pass from this world as he did last Sunday. I thought the reason for this parting of ways was simply because Rhys had gone off to enjoy marital bliss & folk music, but I have just found it was because he was diagnosed with prostate cancer. He did not want to burden too many people with this news, so he withdrew.

Rhys was one of the very few people that I felt did not suffer ego, a very happy man who took joy in every day (at least that I saw him). I am sad to say goodbye to him.

Rhys Owen, 9/3/50 – 24/2/13, safe journeys brother. See you on the other side of the veil.

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