Owen Russel Best Jr.
Passed away on February 6, 2019
Owen Russel Best, Jr., of Charlottesville, Virginia, passed away peacefully in the company of family on February 6, 2019, following a brief illness. He was 84. Born in New Cumberland, PA, Owen graduated from New Cumberland High School and Penn State University. After serving in the U.S. Air Force in California, he lived and worked in Mystic and Stonington, CT, Flemington, NJ, and Lynchburg, VA, before settling in Charlottesville. As an electrical engineer, Owen was employed by manufacturing companies Hubbel Inc./Kellems Co. and Berg Manufacturing, where he held managerial positions. Owen’s long-time passion for and knowledge of horses, of horse-drawn carriages, and of antiques later led to his position as Director of Curatorial Services and as Director of the Carriage Museum at Morven Estate, Charlottesville, where owner John Kluge expressed indebtedness to Owen’s expertise, his commitment to the development of the Carriage Museum and his attention to the many details associated with it. Owen was predeceased by both parents, Owen R. Best, Sr., and Gertrude M. Best, of Pennsylvania, and by sister and Miriam J. Slaseman, also of Pennsylvania. He is survived by son Gregory A. (Kim Zander) Best of New Zealand; by daughter Leigh Ann (Andrew) Brown of Florida; by four grandchildren, William (Will) and Pippa of NZ and Maximilian (Max) and Alexander (Alex) Brown of FL; by brother Robert (Bob) N. (Mildred—Millie—L.) Best, of PA; by sister Louise B. Finneran of PA; and by nieces and nephews. His marriage to the now-late Maxine Biffart ended in divorce, and their two children remember her with love. Owen enjoyed a close and lifelong friendship with members of the Millard (Mel) Norford family, who will miss him at all family gatherings. Owen is survived by countless other friends, colleagues and tennis buddies, whose lives he touched with his gentle nature and sincere interest in their activities. He was always available to help others in whatever way he could. He will be missed by many. A private interment will be held at Preddy’s Creek Baptist Church on Saturday, February 16, followed by a gathering of friends who can join family members at 4:00 pm to celebrate Owen’s life at the home of Anne Norford, 3571 Norford Lane, Charlottesville, VA (off Fosters Branch Rd—not Lonesome Mtn. Rd; GPS will lead astray). If lost, call 434-973-8627. In lieu of flowers, donations may be made in Owen’s name to the Carriage Association of America, 4075 Iron Works Pkwy, Bldg D, Lexington, KY 40511; to Preddy’s Creek Baptist Church, 4394 Stony Point Rd., Barboursville, VA 22923; or to Education Alternatives Worldwide, 404 13th St. NE, Charlottesville, VA 22902.
- Celebration of Life Saturday, February 16, 2019