In Loving Memory: Owen W. Strange


The firm of Booth, Mitchel & Strange, LLP sadly notes the passing of Owen W. Strange, one of three founding partners of the firm. Mr. Strange, George C. Mitchel, and Bates Booth founded the firm in 1955 and practiced for some years in the Rowen Building at 5th and Spring in Los Angeles, when Spring street was the heart of the Los Angeles legal and financial community. They were later joined by Norman Willian, and for some years the firm did business as Booth, Mitchel Strange and Willian, specializing in serving the insurance and surety bond industry.

A true Southern Californian, Owen was born in 1928 in Hollywood, Calif., grew up in the still rural North Hollywood and Studio City. He graduated from Hollywood High, took his undergraduate degree at Occidental College and his L.L.B. in 1953 from the University of Southern California where he was a member the Phi Delta Phi fraternity. He served in the Judge Advocate Corp of the U.S. Army during the Korean conflict and he was one of very few U.S. military attorneys admitted to the Korean Bar. A gifted trial lawyer, Mr. Strange was, for many years, a fixture in the Los Angeles trial and appellate courts where his stature, easy manner, and ever-present cigar made him a formidable courtroom presence. His expertise in health and life insurance matters, as well as real estate development and Savings and Loan law, were regularly sought after. He took a special interest in young lawyers and took time to mentor those who passed through his practice and the firm over many years. Owen was a member of the California State Bar, the International Association of Defense Counsel, the San Diego Bar, and the American Bar Association (Tort and Insurance Practice Sections). A truly accomplished lawyer and friend, he will be greatly missed.

In 1975, Owen moved his young family south to Rancho Santa Fe where the family immersed themselves in their new home, the beach and the family’s beloved cattle ranch in Temecula, Calif. Commuting between San Diego and The City of the Angels, Owen continued to build a nationally respected law firm. He and his wife Liz enjoyed traveling and visiting their friends and extended family. His engaging company, insightful wisdom and dry wit captivated everyone. Owen communicated eloquently and wisely, always with honesty, integrity and absolute discretion. His friendship, courage and spirit were freely given gifts that enriched the lives of those who were lucky enough to know him. He was a gentleman who always treated others with respect and uncommon courtesy, a quiet man who created a safe place in the hearts and minds of his associates as well as his friends. His presence was strong, and he was a fiercely loyal man, a devoted father, a proud grandfather


an even prouder great-grandfather. A voracious reader, his passions for fishing, hunting, horseback riding, music, and opera continued throughout his life. He enjoyed good company and good food, always directed by a unique personal compass that was dominated by his honesty, integrity and constant, unswerving courage. Owen’s spirit, friendship, and unquestioned support of others were freely given gifts to many. We now celebrate his life with the same love and respect that he so shared with those who knew him.

Owen was also a proud and active horseman. In 1964, after several years of active horseback riding at the Saddle & Sirloin Club in Griffith Park, Owen joined Los Rancheros Visitadores in Santa Barbara. Founded in 1930, Rancheros has long included in its membership many prominent members such as Walt Disney, Edgar Bergen and, more recently, Ronald Reagan and his National Security Adviser Bill Clark. Owen fit right in as a member of the “4Q Camp.” Every spring, Owen joined his camp-mates for a week-long trail ride in the hills between the historic missions of Santa Barbara and Santa Ynez. His love of horses, good conversation, huge smile and remarkable wit made him excellent company on the trail year after year. He never rode alone. Now that he has joined the “Empty Saddle Camp” he and his endless supply of great cigars will be sorely missed. He truly broke the mold.

Owen was also deeply involved with the Confrerie des Chevaliers du Tastevin Sous Commanderie de San Diego and was a founding member in 1982. The Chevaliers trace their origins to 1934 in Nuits St George in France where the first meeting occurred. There are more than 2,400 members in the U.S. and 13,000 worldwide. The organization celebrates the wines, customs, and traditions of Burgundy. It was founded by winemakers who wanted to market their product and make the wines of Burgundy a household name. Owen was an active member, did not miss many meetings and relished the good fellowship of the San Diego chapter.

In addition to great wine, Owen was also an aficionado of great pastrami, and he would often take his law firm’s young associates over to Langer’s Delicatessen to share his passion. The firm intends to honor him with a lunch there.

Owen died peacefully at his home after long illness with his family members at his side. He is survived by his son Brian; grandchildren William, Greg, Sarah, Jessica, Richard, Kymberlee, Meladee, and Annie; great grandchildren Kendall, Kadynce, Rose and Billy. He was preceded in death by his wife Elizabeth, his sons Bill and Owen, and daughter Kathy.

A reception in memory of Owen will be held at his home in Rancho Santa Fe on July 14 from noon to 3 p.m. All are welcome.