James C. 'Jim' Owings Jr., math professor, dies

James C. “Jim” Owings Jr., a retired University of Maryland math professor who had a penchant for collecting AMC Eagles automobiles, died Jan. 12 from lung cancer at Stella Maris Hospice.

The lifelong Riderwood resident was 77.

The son of Dr. James C. Owings Sr., a physician, and Constance Carey Owings, a homemaker, James Claggett Owings Jr. was born in Baltimore and raised in his family’s historic home on Walnut Hill in Riderwood, where he lived the rest of his life.

A Towson High School graduate, he obtained his bachelor’s degree in math from Dartmouth College in 1962, and his doctorate in mathematical logic from Cornell University in 1966.

He was a professor of math at the University of Maryland, College Park from 1966 until 1997, when he retired.

Dr. Owings published no fewer than 27 research papers on a variety of topics, said his wife of 36 years, the former Jeanne Morrill Carr, a retired mathematician for the U.S. Defense Department.

“He advised many undergraduate students in his 31 years of teaching, and closely advised nine students who dearly loved him for his patient explanations and kind mentoring,” wrote Mrs. Owings in a profile of her husband. “Six of these students went on to receive a Ph.D. under his supervision.”

Dr. Owings enjoyed taking trips with his family over country back roads to visit family and friends.

He also had a deep affection for 1980-era AMC Eagles, the compact four-wheel drive automobile that had been produced by the American Motors Corp. from 1970 to 1987.

He owned a maroon, blue and silver Eagle, and his yellow Eagle station wagon was a familiar sight on roads in Ruxton and Riderwood.

Dr. Owings was a devoted Orioles fan and enjoyed watching “Jeopardy” and horse racing. He also liked completing crossword and math puzzles. He was a connoisseur of good food, his wife said.

Dr. Owings was a communicant of the Episcopal Church of the Good Shepherd in Ruxton, where a memorial service was held Saturday.

In addition to his wife, he is survived by a son, Jai Kelso Owings of Edgewood, a daughter, Mala Constance Owings of Riderwood; a stepson, Cody Carr of Laurel; a stepdaughter, Karen Carr of Richmond, Va.; and three grandchildren.

--Frederick N. Rasmussen

fred.rasmussen@baltsun.com

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