On Sunday, former 49ers wide receiver R.C. Owens passed away at the age of 78. He had remained with the team for nearly two decades after his playing days in in the 1960s. He was selected to the team’s Hall of Fame last November.
I was there at that ceremony and that’s when I met Owens for the first time. He sat there talking to former teammates and some reporters. I waited for a moment just to chat with him.
“Hi, I’m R.C. Owens,” he said to me. Even though he knew he was the center of attention for the evening, he was still humbled enough to introduce himself to me.
I chatted with him briefly about his playing days and what the induction meant to him. He was full of energy, joy was in his eyes. I didn’t even feel like I was interviewing him. It was just like I was a good friend of his, sitting on our porch just talking up the good ‘ol days.
That’s what I remember from my brief moment getting to know him. He loved football and he loved talking about it. It also happened to be his birthday and he was overcome with joy when the entire room sang “Happy Birthday” to him as they brought out a cake.
It was like Owens never cared about anything else. He enjoyed life. He enjoyed being happy with people.
That’s what I remember most about him. I never saw him play live and I didn’t get to see much of him post-retirement. But that one night where I got a chance to talk with him for about 10 minutes, I cherish that forever. He was a breath of fresh air to me and reminded me how lucky I was in my life. I remember the joy he had and I too hope that when I get older in age, I’ll have the same enthusiasm he shared.
Rest in Peace R.C. Thank you for sharing your special night and your happiness with me.