William M Ownbey

October 31, 1928January 23, 2014
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Well-known Greensboro native, local businessman, and radio personality, William “Bill” Monroe Ownbey, 85, passed away peacefully January 23, 2014 at his home surrounded by his family. He succumbed to kidney cancer after battling it for several months.

His funeral service will be held at 11:00 AM on Monday, January 27, 2014 in the Hanes-Lineberry N. Elm Funeral Chapel, followed by burial at Forest Lawn Cemetery. The family will visit with friends Sunday 5-7:00 pm at the Hanes-Lineberry N. Elm Funeral Home.

Bill was born October 31, 1928 in Greensboro, the youngest child of Juanita Sue Shepard and Dr. Arthur Dennis Ownbey and spent nearly his entire 85 years in Greensboro. As a young man, Bill graduated from Greensboro Senior High and Oak Ridge Military Institute, where he relished his duty as the “TAPS” trumpet player. He joined the United States Army, served in WWII under General McArthur, and had the privilege of guarding 26 of the most feared Japanese war criminals including Hideki Tojo at Sugamo Prison. After receiving his honorable discharge from service, he married Ann Marie “Tootsie” Ridenhour in 1949.

His working career began at Mann’s Pharmacy in the O’Henry Hotel at the soda fountain before enlisting in the Army. After his return to Greensboro, he spent over 25 years as a part-time Deputy and Special Deputy with the Guilford County Sheriff’s department and proudly spent over 50 years as owner of Ownbey Rental Service. He most enjoyed his part-time career as a radio announcer at WBIG, sitting in for Bob Poole’s morning radio show, and as a local sports announcer from the 1950s through the early 2000’s. Bill was often referred to as “The Voice of The Generals and Carolina Monarchs” ice hockey teams from the 1950s through the 1980s, announced the ABA Carolina Cougars, and announced play-by-play coverage of the “GGO”, “GGCC”, Wyndham Championship, Planters Pat Bradley Classic, and Men’s and Women’s US Open golf tournaments at Pinehurst, for local radio stations. He also announced the East-West All-Star High School Football games for over 50 years.

Bill was a member of the Greensboro Elks Lodge #602 and served as Exalted Ruler, Trustee, Esteemed Loyal Knight, and as Chaplain, won the Thad Eure Award, the highest award in the North Carolina Ritual Competition. He was past president of the Greensboro Jaycee Old Timers, a member of the 100 Club, Carolina Golf Reporters Association, American Rental Association, and the NC Rental Association.

Bill was preceded in death by his father, Dr. Arthur Dennis Ownbey, Sr., his mother, Juanita Sue Shepard Ownbey, both of Greensboro, his wife of 50 years, “Tootsie” Ridenhour Ownbey, his sister, Helen Ownbey Borger of New York, and his brother, Arthur Dennis Ownbey, Jr. of Wallace, NC. Surviving are his children Debbie Ownbey Wagoner (Mike), Bunnie Ownbey McClintock (George), and Bill Ownbey, Jr., all of Greensboro; his four grandchildren, Millicent Thornton Mills (Jason), Christie Ownbey, Sarah McClintock, and Charles McClintock (Kelly); two great-grandsons, Charlie and Mac Mills; and niece Adrienne Borger Lower of Chicago, IL.

Bill will be most remembered for his rich unmistakable voice, his sense of humor and outgoing personality, and deep love of golf. He loved being with his family and friends, especially his time with the “Monday Golf Group” and the “Almost Open” where he was the last remaining founding member. He was truly loved and will be dearly missed.

His family sincerely appreciates the care and support from Hospice and Palliative Care of Greensboro and requests memorial contributions in lieu of flowers be made to Hospice, 2500 Summit Avenue, Greensboro, NC 27405.

On line condolences may be made at


  • Visitation Sunday, January 26, 2014
  • Funeral Service Monday, January 27, 2014

William M Ownbey

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January 30, 2014

Bunnie, Debbie, Bill and families. I am sorry to hear of your Dad''s passing. What great memories I have of him from 3rd grade through high school. I will always treasure the nickname he gave me, "Zuskie", as I had such a long last name. Your entire family was a big part of my life and Bunnie and Debbie my best friends for years. I'll keep you all in my prayers. Thanks for sharing your Dad with me! Much love, Susan Oberholtzer Adams

January 28, 2014

I am so sorry to hear about your dad's passing last week. I remember him so well during my Greensboro years. What a larger-than-life man he was and I know he was an awesome father to you, Debbie and Billy. May the Lord of eternal life bless all of you with an everlasting peace and divine love. In His grace and joy, Bob Roach

January 27, 2014

Bunny, thinking of you for your loss, I did not know your Dad, but remember his voice from the Grimsley games. So sorry.
Love, Whitey.

Tom Sizemore

January 27, 2014

Bunnie, Melinda and I are sorry for the loss of your father. We just became aware of his passing and were not able to attend the viewing or service. We know you will miss him a great deal.

Kathy Haines

January 27, 2014

Bill, I am so sorry for your loss. Your father was a great man and will be remembered by all of the Haines' very fondly. We are sending love to your family and wish comfort for you.

Lori Preble

January 26, 2014

To Bill, Bunny, Deb, Millicent, Christie, Sarah and Charles. Losing a loved one leaves a void that in time is filled with wonderful memories. You are so fortunate to have been blessed with such a kind hearted and caring father and grandfather. His legacy lives in all of you through your outward kindness, generosity and love of humanity. He will be greatly missed and my thoughts and prayers are with you, Lori Preble

Gray Steifel

January 26, 2014

Debbie & Mike
I did not know your father, but I honor him especially as a veteran of WW2.

January 26, 2014

Bill was great and will be remembered as a special person and friend

Annemarie & Edgar Marks

BJ Barnes

January 26, 2014

Bill was a great friend and will be missed greatly. His legacy is all the friends and his wonderful family he left behind. There will never be another like him and I am proud to have called him friend. Sheriff BJ Barnes

January 26, 2014

Bunnie, Debbie, and family, I am so very sorry to hear about your great loss. Bill was quite the gentleman. He always made me laugh and smile as he did everyone he was around. Bill will surely be missed by all his family and friends. God bless you during these difficult times. Your long time neighbor and friend, Butch Williams