Ken Owens

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This article is about the architect. For the former postal worker and bar owner, see Ken Owens (Airport Inn).

Kenneth O. Owens, Jr (born c. 1939; died March 7, 2009) was an architect and co-founder of the Owens and Woods Partnership.

Owens is a graduate of Tennessee State University. He and Franklin Woods opened the city's first black-owned architecture firm in 1974. Their first major commission, for a complete overhaul of the Central City Housing Project into Metropolitan Gardens, was recognized by the Birmingham Chapter of the American Insitute of Architects and the state planning association.

Since then the firm has been involved in numerous projects across the city and has acted in some cases as a developer, usually in the preservation of a historic structure such as the former Birmingham Fire Station No. 4, which they converted into an office for the firm. They were also part of the development team that renovated the former Blach's building into offices for MBA Structural Engineers and residential lofts.

Owens was a member of the Vulcan Kiwanis Club and 6th Avenue Baptist Church, where he chaired the board of deacons. The building housing Jessie's Place women's shelter is named for him.

Owens died in 2009 after a two-year fight with cancer. He was survived by his wife, Birmingham Board of Education member Dannetta K. Thornton-Owens and children, Kevin, Keith, William and Verna.

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