Marty Lee Owens remembered a time when North Lakeland was but orange groves and cattle ranches; a time when teenagers could drive 18-wheelers and celebrities wandered the backroads in search of a good mechanic.
Marty, who had lived in Polk County since his birth in 1963, began his last “long haul” to Heaven on Sunday morning.
Born on Dec. 6th, 1963 to Rose and Hermon Owens, Marty was an entrepreneur who lived a full life, partaking in varied businesses ventures throughout his days. In the late ‘70s, still a young teenager, he was engaged in the agriculture industry where he ran his own hay business. At the age of 15 he began driving semi-trucks and began transporting livestock from yards throughout Florida to various points outside of the state under-the-table. In 1980, after his underage driving came into the limelight, he was sent to Caldwell Community College in Boone, NC, where he undertook extensive training in welding and fabrication techniques, receiving numerous certificates at the end.
During the ‘80s, Marty worked in several businesses including fabrication for Bethlehem Steel, the construction of grove pumps and Killebrew fertilizer trailers throughout Polk, and even in his own automotive repair shop. A favorite story of his involved fixing Arnold Palmer’s car and loaning him his own for a golf tournament, only for Mr. Palmer to find that the driver’s side door habitually fell off of the car. Marty married his current wife, Dorinda, on April 7th, 1996. Shortly after, Marty returned to the trucking industry with his wife and began a thirty-plus year stretch that saw them establish their own transportation company, MDG Transport, in 2004 and make countless trips between their home in Lake Wales and points across the American west. Marty loved fishing, boating, antiquing, and having a good time. He was very proud of his four children, always telling anyone he encountered about their achievements.
He is survived by his Mother, Rose of N. Lakeland; his brothers Hermon Ray Jr. of Lakeland and John of Landrum SC; his wife, Dorinda of Lake Wales; four children: Michelle Roberts and husband Shannon of Eagle Lake, Britney Thomason and husband Drew of Lakeland, Katelyn Harrison and husband Freddy of Lakeland, and Grady of Lake Wales/Ithaca NY; nine grandchildren: Austin and wife Amanda, Zackery, Zoe and partner Kayro, Wyatt, Allen, Eli, Payton, Conway, and Lilly; one great-grandchild Abe; and numerous cousins, nieces, nephews, and family friends.
A viewing will be at Gentry-Morrison Funeral Home, 3350 Mall Hill Dr, Lakeland, FL 33810, on Saturday, April 10th, at 2 p.m. with service at 3 p.m. Interment will follow at Socrum Cemetery. Dinner to be held at Fellowship Church, 4405 N Galloway Rd, Lakeland, FL 33810, immediately following. The family asks that dinner attendees please bring a covered dish. Condolences may be sent to the family at Gentry-Morrison Funeral Homes.