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Elroy Allan "Riley" Owens


Elroy Allan (Riley) Owens, 61, of Plains, Montana, passed away Saturday, May 8, 2021, in Kalispell, Montana. Elroy was born October 9, 1959 at Howard Hughes Hospital in Culver City, California to Don and Helga Owens. He attended part of his elementary schooling in Eagle Rock, California. In 1969 his family moved to Polson, Montana.

His parents divorced and in 1972 his mother remarried and moved to Plains. He graduated from high school in Plains.

Riley worked in road construction for a few years then enlisted in the Navy. He was assigned to an aircraft carrier. Home port was Oak Harbor, Washington. He was trained to inspect the cockpits of jet planes. He spent over 12 years in the Navy. After a medical discharge, he went to school on the VA program to study auto mechanics and was also certified on heavy equipment. His repair shop was “Roy’s Auto” in Plains.

He married Deanna Hanks on Dec. 26, 1998, at his mother’s home in Plains. He acquired three children – Christina, Lisa and Ronald. He later adopted Ronald. He and Deanna bought the Wildhorse Bar, Cafe and Casino and own it at the present time.

Riley was diagnosed with idiopathic pulmonary fibrosis about five years ago. There is no cure and no medical cause – probably genetic – as he had three uncles on his mother’s side that died from the same problem. In the past few months he had to give up auto mechanics and work at the Wildhorse.

He is survived by his wife, Deanna; daughters, Christina Hanks and Lisa Hower of Spokane, Washington; son Ronald (Dani) Owens of Bonner, Montana; mother Helga Martin of Plains; brother Jan Norman (Melissa) Owens of Corvallis, Montana; sister Debra (Chester) Robbins of Plains; stepbrother and good friend Howard Martin of Plains; an aunt in Eagle Rock, California; eight grandchildren, two nephews, three nieces; one great-niece and six great-nephews; and a multitude of cousins and friends. He was much loved and will be greatly missed.

Riley was preceded in death by all grandparents, nine uncles, two aunts, one nephew, his father Don Owens and stepfather, Walter Martin.


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