In Memoriam: Elmer Owens, PhD
Dr. Elmer Owens, professor emeritus at the University of California, San Francisco (UCSF) passed away on April 23, 2013. After serving as a fighter pilot during WWII, Dr. Owens returned home to attend graduate school at Syracuse University, where he earned his masters and doctoral degrees in speech pathology and audiology. He also worked with famed speech pathologist, Wendell Johnson, at the University of Iowa on the remediation of stuttering.
Dr. Owens was instrumental in developing the first audiology clinic at UCSF. He was also one of the original faculty members of the joint Speech and Hearing Sciences Doctoral Program between UCSF and UC Santa Barbara. Dr. Owens was part of the cochlear implant program team from its inception at the university. He developed methods and materials for determining implant candidacy, as well as the evaluation of speech understanding for pre- and post-implant patients.
Dr. Owens was the lead author of the Minimal Auditory Capabilities (MAC) Battery, one of the first test batteries developed to test elements of speech understanding of cochlear implant recipients. He published a book, a monograph, and a large number of articles related to his groundbreaking work with early cochlear implant patients. His unwavering interest in the investigation of speech understanding in deaf and hard-of-hearing patients led him to work with Dr. Earl Schubert of Stanford, to develop the California Consonant Test. He also published many articles on speech perception in both adults and children with hearing loss.
In addition to his work with hearing loss, Dr. Owens, a stutterer since childhood, provided career-long therapy for patients of all ages with dysfluency. Dr. Owens was not only a pioneer in the profession of communicative disorders, but he was also a generous teacher and mentor of young audiologists. He will be remembered for his consuming intellectual curiosity, his many contributions to his profession, and his great sense of humor.