Tributes to popular Penrith photographer

Date: Monday 11th February 2019

TRIBUTES have been paid to a Penrith photographer who was well known for his portrait work and wedding photography — some of which featured in the Herald.

The funeral of Frank Owen, who was 86 years old and lived at Harrison Street with his wife, Joan, was held at Christ Church, Penrith, at the end of January.

He was born in Salop, which is now known as Shropshire, to farm labourer Ernest and cleaner Elizabeth.

Frank had one brother called Edward, as well as two half-brothers, Walter and David, and a half-sister, May.

He was educated locally and when he left school he initially worked as a farm labourer before volunteering to join the Army, serving with the Tank Corps. He was stationed at Catterick before moving across to Warcop.

Frank met Joan at a Saturday night dance at Penrith’s Drill Hall around 1950, and they were married at Christ Church in 1953.

They lived in Foster Street and had two sons, David, who was born in 1956, and Paul, who arrived in 1961.

Frank served as a private with the corps for five or six years and when he left the Army he worked as a builder’s labourer, long distance lorry driver, loading wagons at British Gypsum and a spray painter for Beacon Trailers.

Photography began as a hobby, but, after gaining qualifications and following redundancy, he set up a studio and darkroom in Penrith.

As well as his weddings and portraits, two of his most popular shots were panoramic views, one in summer and the other in winter, each painstakingly pieced together from a number of separate shots taken from the ninth hole at Penrith Golf Club.

He retired in 1994 and in his spare time he enjoyed playing musical instruments, such as the accordion and electronic organ, and whippet racing.

Frank owned a number of racing dogs over the years. The first one, bought in 1967, was called Trilby, with the pet name Meg.

He attended whippet racing events across the UK, including the North East, Annan, Lancashire, Rotherham and Leeds. One competition win resulted in him travelling to Watford for the finals.

As well as Joan, David and Paul, Frank leaves David’s partner Denise, grandchildren Claire, Sarah and Cerys, and great grandchild Sam.

Paul said his father was a good man and added: “He was generous and well liked. A lot of folk knew him as Taffy.”

The funeral arrangements were handled by Walkers Funeral Directors and donations will go towards the British Heart Foundation.