Jean (DeWitt) Owen

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Joan (left) and Jean DeWitt

Jean Ann (née DeWitt) Owen

Born: April 8, 1928
Died: May 5, 2014 (Regina, Saskatchewan)

Member: Regina (Sask.) Sports Hall of Fame (2004)

 

The figure skating twin sisters Jean and Joan DeWitt won three consecutive Western Canadian ladies’ pairs championships from 1947 to ’49. They then turned professional, touring the continent in a glittery, ice show revue.

ImageThe sisters learned to skate on wascana Lake at age five and by age 15 were club champions in pairs at the Wascana Winter Club in Regina. They held the club title for six years.

The pair were celebrated on the Prairies for their routines. In 1949, the young women were presented cashmere wool twin sweaters for participating in an ice carnival to mark the city of Winnipeg’s 75th anniversary.

After turning pro, they joined traveling ice shows featuring two great Olympic champion skaters in Barbara Ann Scott of Ottawa and Sonja Henie of Norway. The sisters even spent two months performing in Havana, Cuba, as part of the Henie show.

In 1950, they toured with Barbara Ann Scott in what was billed as a Winter Wonder Show, performing a well-received jazz pizzicato number. The sisters also skated at state fairs in Iowa, Mississippi, Wisconsin, Illinois and New York in a summer show caled “Holiday on Ice — Ice Varieties.”

The sisters disbanded their routine in 1954, each returning to being skating instructors. Jean had married Jim Owen, their union lasting 41 years until his death in 1994. She taught in Eastern canada before returning to the Wascana Winter Club.

In 1984, she was protocal chairperson for the Canadian figure skating championships, a role she reprised at Skate Canada in Regina two years later.

In 2004, she and her sister were inducted into the Regina Sports Hall of Fame.

She leaves five children, 14 grandchildren, two great-grandchildren, a brother, and her twin sister, Joan Moors.

 

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