Robby Owens makes his home on a dairy farm in Helena, which has been in his family for generations.
Robby Owens makes his home on a dairy farm in Helena, which has been in his family for generations.

Archived Story

Profile: Person of the Year Robby Owens

Published 9:35am Wednesday, March 5, 2014

By AMY JONES

Photos by JON GOERING 

When Shelby County District Attorney Robby Owens sits down with someone who has lost a loved one because of a crime — a murder or a DUI, for example — he can understand the pain they’re going through.

Robby lost his wife of 33 years, Denise, to a different culprit — breast cancer — in 2007, but he knows that “loss is loss,” no matter how that loss occurs.

Sometimes people assume that traumatic or sudden loss, such as in a murder or car accident, is different than losing someone to an illness. That’s not typically the case, Robby said.

“What people don’t understand is, loss is loss. The depth of despair people feel is always proportional to the closeness of the relationship and the love they had. How the loss happened is much less important,” Robby said. “I understand traumatic loss much more because loss is loss.”

Robby, who volunteers as a facilitator for grief support groups, said his experiences with losing his wife and working with grief support groups give him a strong foundation to rest on when working with victims.

“I always thought I was sympathetic, and I was. But until I went through it myself, I didn’t understand,” Robby said. “Now, when they talk to me about losing somebody, I get it.”

Editor's Picks

Library welcomes Archie Wade and Magic Bunny Merlin

Now you see him, now you don’t! Experience the wonder that only a truly gifted and wonderful magician can bring. Read more