Dusty Owens, a country music singer known for such hits
as "Hello Operator," "Just Call On Me" and "Once More," passed away Friday,
March 27, 2015 at the age of 84.
Born in Flint, MI to Ignatius (Jim) and Anna Kucharski, Dusty began his musical career at
age 16, playing as an accordionist on WWOK. He subsequently played on KMA, WHO and WWVA, and in
1953 was signed by Columbia Record Co.
In 1957 Dusty moved with his wife Betty to Temple Terrace, FL. He graduated from Florida
College and received his M.A. at USF. He was employed variously as a motivational speaker, teacher,
He was a proud Rotarian with a 30-year perfect attendance record, presiding as District Governor
(1990 to 1991) and National Song Leader. He served on the Temple Terrace City Council
in 1989 and on the Amway Board of Directors for many years.
In 1983 Dusty, along with 49 other artists, was honored by the Wheeling Jamboree for making the greatest
contributions to country music in the last 50 years.
In 2003 he established the internet station TCM Radio. In 2006 he was inducted into
America's Old Time Country Music Hall of Fame.
"Once More" has been recorded over 100 times, by artists including
Porter Wagoner, George Jones, Dolly Parton, Vince Gill, and Roy Acuff.
Always vivacious and playful, Dusty invested each day with his passions: he was a pilot, baseball player,
bowler, linguist, technophile, video gamer, and avid Tampa Bay Rays fan. To his family and friends
he was generous in love. Dusty was preceded in death by his son, Phillip Owens and his sister,
Survivors include his beloved wife of 65 years, Betty Owens; his son, Loren Owens (Michele Martin);
daughters, Paula Nichols (Tony) and Rachel DeLuna (Mike Caruso); brother, Richard Kucharski (Brenda);
five grandchildren, Ryan & Kara Mauldin, Jorel Juncal and Tristan & Bella DeLuna, and great-grandson,
Dusty will be remembered by his family in a private ceremony held at a later date.
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