Tiger Photographic

Airlee Owens' Biography, as printed in his self-published books.

Airlee Owens Photo by Brad Owens
Posed photo of Airlee Owens taken by his son, Brad Owens

Airlee Owens was born just outside Middlesboro, Kentucky on February 18, 1941. His parents moved to Bandon, Oregon in 1952. After graduating from Bandon High School, in 1959, Airlee joined the United States Air Force and was sent to Syracuse University to learn the Russian language. After nine months of intensive Russian training he was sent to his first duty station at a listening post near Karamursel, Turkey. While he was there he volunteered for — and was accepted into — a brand new aerial reconnaissance program. The Air Force was switching from the propeller-driven RC-130 aircraft to the RC-135 jet aircraft. After extensive training in routine Survival, Escape and Evasion, Prisoner of War survival, etc., Airlee served his second tour of duty flying missions out of Eielson Air Force Base near Fairbanks, Alaska. For his service there he was awarded the Air Medal.

Airlee purchased his first 35mm camera, a Minolta rangefinder, in Frankfurt, Germany on his way to Turkey in 1961. Ultimately he graduated to the 35mm Single Lens Reflex camera and today uses digital cameras for his photography.

Airlee has been published by Oregon Coast magazine, Western Horseman magazine, The Trail Less Traveled magazine, PhotoPC magazine, A+ magazine, The Trail Rider magazine, and Hang Gliding and Paragliding magazine.

Airlee retired from the State of Oregon in 1996 and has been actively pursuing his hobby of photography and computers since that time.

Airlee Owens' Self-Written Obituary

Airlee Owens Photo by Gary Sands
Photo of Airlee Owens at an emotional time taken by his very dear friend, Gary Sands

Airlee was born February 18, 1941, five miles north of Middlesboro, Kentucky. He moved to Bandon with his family at the age of 11. He died February 17, 2010, in Portland, Oregon at the VA hospital.

Airlee was a passionate patriot and loved the United States of America. He joined the United States Air Force on August 17, 1959. He was sent to Syracuse University in New York where he was trained as a Russian linguist. He served one tour of duty at a ground listening post in Karamursel, Turkey, just south of the Black Sea and served his second tour of duty at Eielson Air Force Base in Alaska. He has said that probably the best decision he ever made in his life, outside of his becoming a Christian, was to have joined the Air Force.

Airlee was a proud member of a group of reconnaissance flyers called the Prop Wash Gang. He was a life member of the Freedom through Vigilance Association, made up of all former intelligence specialists in the Air Force. He was a life member of the Disabled American Veterans organization and a member of the American Legion. He also belonged to Mensa. Airlee was a fairly good photographer and he loved to write. Occasionally he put both talents to work and had been published in several magazines. He was member of Pacific Community Church which he attended regularly for many years. He loved his church, the brothers and sisters therein, his country and his friends — mostly veterans.

Airlee is survived by his sisters, Rosalie Meek of Central Point, Oregon and Suzie Owens of Broadbent, Oregon; a daughter, Tanya Ornelas of Springfield, Missouri; a son, Bradley Scott Owens formerly of Springfield, Missouri, now residing in Bandon, Oregon; and four grandchildren, Jesus, Anthony, Nikayla and Myranda.

Airlee was preceded in death by his parents, Hubert Owens and Martha B. Owens; and his brother, Bobby Owens.