Our class lost a trailblazing member May 7, 2021, after a short battle with pulmonary fibrosis. Owen was that rare combination of high-achieving and self-effacing, melded with a wicked sense of humor. He came to Princeton from the Loomis School in Windsor, Conn., majored in English, ate at Quadrangle, and was editor-in-chief of the Bric-a-Brac. Two years teaching in the Princeton-in-Asia program took Owen to Hong Kong, where he met his wife, Amber, as a student and later served for years as a trustee of the program.

After one year at Columbia Law School, where he later became an editor of the Columbia Law Review, he was commissioned as a lieutenant in the Army and sent to Vietnam, where he earned a Bronze Star. After graduation he joined the international law firm of Coudert Brothers and was soon asked to open the firm’s new office in Hong Kong. During that time he did important fundamental work that permitted commencement of commercial relations between China and the United States.

Owen was a dapper dresser, fond of bow ties and straw boater hats. He was a fanatic about golf and asked that we recall that his holes-in-one were innumerable. 

He is survived by his wife, Amber; daughters Claire Nee Nelson ’96 and Alexandra Nee ’06; and three granddaughters, to whom the class extends its deepest sympathy.

Undergraduate Class of 1965