FRIEND IN NEED
Owings retires from Coroner’s Office, closes 40-year career
Saturday, August 09, 2014 2:26 AM
For years, Steve Owings dreaded that fateful knock on the door that makes every parent shudder: The one in which a police officer or death investigator notifies family members their son or daughter has died tragically.
Steve Owings stands in front of the coroner’s van. Owens retired from the Greenwood County Coroner’s Office last Friday after 21 years of service. (MADDY JONES | INDEX-JOURNAL)
It’s a valid concern for the father of two. Ironically, Owings has been on the opposite side of the door knock for the past 20 years, helping Greenwood County families absorb the devastation that comes from losing a loved one. It’s an agonizing and emotional job that never got any easier for the Greenville County native.
And it’s one with which Owings will no longer have to contend. The longtime investigator retired from the Greenwood County Coroner’s Office last week, ending a 40-year law enforcement career in the Emerald City.
“He put in a mighty long amount of time and he did it well. He did it from the heart,” said former coroner Jim Coursey, who for several years worked with Owings at the Greenwood Police Department and the Coroner’s Office. “He was a very good officer, very good coroner and a very good policeman. He got along with people really well, and he had such a good sense of humor, but was serious-minded if you’ve got a problem.”
Owings grew up dreaming of becoming an officer for the South Carolina Highway Patrol. After applying to become a trooper and not being selected, he joined the city police force in 1973 and worked five years as a patrolman before joining the detectives unit. He remained an investigator several years until returning to the uniform patrol division as a lieutenant over a road shift. He suffered a back injury in the line of duty while wrestling to arrest a suspect that cut his police career short after 20 years.
“I really enjoyed working at the police department,” he recalled. “Getting to know my fellow officers and getting out there and helping the public. It was a real joy for me.”
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