Maribel Yerxa Owen

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Maribel Yerxa Owen

Birthdate: (20)
Death: February 15, 1961 (20) (plane crash)
Immediate Family:

Daughter of Guy Owen and Maribel Vinson
Sister of Laurence Rochon "Laurie" Owen

Managed by: Private User
Last Updated:
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Immediate Family

About Maribel Yerxa Owen

Maribel Yerxa Owen (April 25, 1940 – February 15, 1961) was an American pair skater. With partner Dudley Richards, she was the 1961 U.S. national champion and represented the United States at the 1960 Winter Olympics, where they placed 10th. She was the daughter of Maribel Vinson and Guy Owen and the sister of Laurence Owen. Maribel Owen died, along with her mother and sister, in the crash of Sabena Flight 548 en route to the 1961 World Figure Skating Championships.

Life and career

Maribel Yerxa Owen was born in Boston, Massachusetts and was the first child born to Maribel Vinson and Guy Owen. She was named after her mother, and was known as "Maribel, Jr." or "Mara". Her younger sister Laurence was also a champion skater, and they were both coached by their mother.

Owen began to skate at the age of 2 years and 9 months. At the time the Owen family was living in Berkeley, California and Maribel competed in singles competition representing the St. Moritz Ice Skating Club. When the Owens moved to the Boston area, she formed a pair team with Charles Foster (later president of the United States Figure Skating Association). In 1956, when she age 15, she and Foster became the U.S. junior national champions. When Foster retired from competition to attend medical school, she teamed with Dudley Richards.

With Richards, she competed at the 1960 Winter Olympics, placing 9th. They won the 1961 United States Figure Skating Championships and the silver medal at the 1961 North American Figure Skating Championships.

On January 28, 2011 Maribel Owen was inducted into the United States Figure Skating Hall of Fame along with the entire 1961 World Team. Her sister Laurence Owen also was inducted and her mother Maribel Vinson Owen was inducted for a third time in 2011; in her capacity as a 1961 World Team Coach. Previously, her mother had been inducted in the inaugural Class of 1976 as a singles skater and for a second time in 1994 as a pairs skater.

Owen was a student at Boston University, where she was majoring in sociology and anthropology.


As a result of winning the national championships, Maribel Owen was selected to be a member of the U.S. team at the 1961 World Figure Skating Championships, to be held in Prague, Czechoslovakia. She was a passenger on a Boeing 707 operating as Sabena Flight 548 when it crashed near Brussels, Belgium, killing all on board. She was 20 years old. The World Championships that year were cancelled.

Maribel Owen was interred next to her mother and sister in Mount Auburn Cemetery in Cambridge, Massachusetts.


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Maribel Yerxa Owen's Timeline

April 25, 1940
February 15, 1961
Age 20