Hugo Doyle Owens


Hugo Doyle Owens passed from this world into the Kingdom of Heaven on Saturday, December 3, 2016.  He was surrounded by family and friends during his final hours.  Doyle lived 85 years, and lived them to the fullest. 

Doyle grew up near Fyffe, Alabama and enjoyed boyhood adventures on Sauty Creek that would have been the envy of Huckleberry Finn.  He attended Fyffe High School where he was a running back on the school’s football team.  After graduation Doyle studied at Jacksonville State University and served in the United States Air Force. 

Doyle was the son of Oliver and Georgia Owens and married Mollie Sue Wilborn.  During his early adult years, he worked in his father’s thriving business, Owens General Merchandise.  A few years later, Doyle sold insurance for Liberty National and after moving to Scottsboro, Alabama, he served as county manager for Farm Bureau Insurance Company.  During his insurance years, Doyle made hundreds of friends as he traveled Jackson and DeKalb counties; many of these friends are still living today. 

In the late 1960s, Doyle began to get the entrepreneurial itch and longed to start his own business.  After a few fits and starts, he landed on the business idea of a lifetime.  In 1970, with a $300 loan from his father-in-law and a borrowed pickup truck from his dad, Doyle launched the Unclaimed Baggage Center.  Unclaimed Baggage became the nation’s only business of its kind, grew to be one of the largest employers in Jackson County and has been featured in countless media stories by The New York Times, The Washington Post, The Wall Street Journal, Fortune Magazine, The Today Show, Fox News Network (his favorite news source) and many others.  Through Unclaimed Baggage, Doyle built thousands of friendships with customers, co-workers and airline managers.    

Doyle was a man of many interests.  Dove hunter, Ham Radio operator, vegetable gardener, church deacon and Alabama football.  He was known to be a man of great generosity.  Throughout his lifetime, Doyle gave quietly give to the needs of others—family members, customers, friends, those down on their luck, his church and numerous ministries. 

Above all, Doyle was committed to his family.  He graciously served as his sons’ biggest cheerleader, supporter, confidant and advisor in their business pursuits.  As a grandfather, Doyle or “Granddaddy” as he was known, invested countless hours with his three grandsons.  He lovingly adopted his daughters-in-law as his own daughters.  As his wife of 60 years, was confined to their home, Doyle faithfully served and cared for her at her bedside and admirably “finished strong” in their marriage. 

Doyle is survived by his sons, Mark and Bryan Owens, his daughters-in-law, Ruth and Sharon Owens, his grandsons, Benjamin, Matthew and Micah, nieces Lauren Sawyer, Ashley Wilborn, Tiffany Wilborn Pittman, Courtney Wilson, and nephews Tony Wilborn and Steve Davis.  He leaves behind numerous other relatives and friends. 

The family wishes to thank the loving caretakers who tirelessly served both Doyle and Sue in the last years of their lives. 

The family will receive visitors on Friday evening, December 9th from 5:00-8:00 PM at the Scottsboro Funeral Home at 1502 County Park Road in Scottsboro.  Doyle’s home-going celebration will be held on Saturday December 10th at 11:00 AM at Calvary Baptist Church at 305 County Park Road in Scottsboro, followed by the burial at Cedar Hill Cemetery located near the corner of W. Willow Street and Lost Luggage Lane. 

In lieu of flowers, memorial donations may be made to Samaritan’s Purse,  Written condolences for the family can be sent to: The Owens Family, care of Unclaimed Baggage Center, 509 W. Willow Street, Scottsboro, Alabama 35768.