Nathaniel Owens was born April 20, 1951 to Arthur A. Owens and Pauline I. (Powell) Owens. He grew up in the Five Points, Curtis Park, and City Park West neighborhoods.
Nate attended school at Gilpin Elementary, Morey Jr. High School, and graduated from Manual High School. He studied music and community social programs at Metropolitan State College (now University).
At an early age Nate demonstrated an industrious spirit. In the winter he would shovel sidewalks for some of the neighbors. His interests were soon expanded to the movie theater. He would watch Champ, the manager/owner of the Roxy Theater, change the letters for upcoming movies on the marquee and one day asked if he could try. Champ gave him a chance and was convinced this youngster would do a good job.
Nate’s job experiences at the Roxy expanded from doing the marquee to cleaning up after movies, working the concession stand, and ultimately changing the reels of the movies.
As a young boy Nate was introduced to Christ while attending vacation bible school at Central Baptist Church. While admitting that the initial attraction to attending was getting the snacks that were provided, he was eventually baptized. The seeds of faith were planted then and intertwined in many ways during his life – especially through his interactions with people. Yes, as a young man he engaged in his share of scraps with other young men in the neighborhood. But Nate’s caring nature was demonstrated through his interactions with family and other people.
His early earnings were shared with his siblings, nieces, and nephews when he would buy gifts and treats for them. In later years he would often encourage them to seek jobs at the places he had worked when the opportunities arose. Once he began operating a business of his own, family or friends in need of extra funds could find work either in the sandwich shop or one of the sandwich carts.
When the McDonalds opened in Five Points Nathaniel was one of the early participants in their classroom and on-the-job training program learning everything the McDonald’s way including keeping the property cleaned; making fries, shakes and sandwiches; and cashiering.
In addition to school and work Nathaniel enjoyed sports, music and working on cars. Early morning runs before school to train for boxing not only developed stamina but instilled a “can do” attitude for life. At one time he was a member of the Golden Gloves program though later his interest shifted to football.
To participate in the city sponsored singing contests Nate would gather with friends and his brother Michael to rehearse for the competitions. Winning was the goal, yet again the experience taught a lot that carried on for the rest of his life. Through the years Nate formed a number of bands who performed throughout Denver and a few other cities in Colorado. When not working with his own bands he performed with The Action Orchestra, Big City Band, Jakarta, and others.
Most of these activities occurred within the Five Points area so it was no surprise that if an event happened in Five Points Nate Owens was somehow involved. Whether as a member of the Five Points Business Association, participating in the Juneteenth Parade, East Side Action Center services and programs, the Bill Picket Rodeo, or hosting performers to the Casino Cabaret you could count on Nate to be there meeting and greeting.
When not working Nathaniel enjoyed spending time with his wife and daughter. They often traveled to many places within Colorado, and to states such as Arizona, California, Florida, Louisiana, New York, and Texas.
Nathaniel was the 12th of 15 siblings. He was preceded in death by his parents, brothers, Alonzo, Lee Marvin, Dale Duane, Dennis L., Guston, Morris Michael, Gregory L. Owens, and Melvin Loggins Jr.; sisters, Wilma (Owens) Branham, Lona (Owens) Machado, Shirley (Owens) Ellis, and Judith Owens. He is survived by his wife, Nola V. (Wade) Owens; daughter, Chante Y. Owens; sisters, Marvenia (Owens) Salzbury, Vickie (Owens) Grays; many cousins, a host of nieces and nephews and friends.