Owen C. Eldridge, Jr., age 86, of Geneva, Illinois passed away Wednesday, December 26, 2018. He is survived by his children Erik (Cindy) of Geneva, Owen III (Karen) of Arlington, VA, Valerie (Robert) Rule of Knoxville, Tennessee, and Gloria of Reston, VA; eight grandchildren; and many other relatives and friends.
He was born on January 14, 1932 in Crossville, Tennessee, the son of Owen and Sadie (Mears) Eldridge. His family lived in the first Homestead House built in Crossville, and he was the valedictorian of his graduating class. Owen served his country as a pilot in the United States Air Force during the Korean war. He received his undergraduate degree from the University of Tennessee in Engineering Physics and his doctoral degree from the University of California, Berkeley in Physics. He was a professor of theoretical physics at the University of Tennessee and also the University of Wisconsin. While a UT professor, he also conducted research in fusion energy physics at Oak Ridge National Laboratory. Throughout his career, he spoke internationally on his work on the physics behind fusion power and authored nearly one hundred academic articles – some of which were lauded as seminal in their field. Towards the end of his career, he concentrated on astrophysics. In his spare time, Owen enjoyed reading, writing, hunting, and working on physics equations. His favorite pastime however was spending time with his family and he will be dearly missed.
He was preceded in death by his parents, daughter Monika; siblings Emily and Jack; and his devoted wife of 37 years Ileana (Spagna).
Services for Owen will be held privately.
In lieu of flowers, memorials to the Salvation Army Tri City Corps, Joe K. Anderson Community Center, 1710 S. 7th Avenue, St. Charles, Illinois 60174 would be appreciated.
Arrangements handled by Malone Funeral Home in Geneva. For information 630-232-8233 or visit www.malonefh.com.