A podium was in the center of the football field, flower bouquets put out, chairs arranged for the audience, and warmhearted music streamed from stadium speakers. With this, preparations were in place to celebrate the lives of beloved Fullerton athletics icons Brigman “Brig” and Marvin “Marvelous Marv” Owens, brothers who passed away within weeks of each other this past summer.

Family, friends, former teammates, and members of the community came together at Fullerton Union High School on Sept. 25 to pay tribute to their accomplishments. During the ceremony, speakers shared memories and civic leaders presented plaques & certificates to the Owens family honoring the contributions of Brig and Marv, both in sports and to the community.

Family members recall fun moments shared with Brig and Marvin Owens during a celebration of life for the brothers at Fullerton Union High School on Sept. 25, 2022.

Family members recall fun moments shared with Brig and Marvin Owens during a celebration of life for the brothers at Fullerton Union High School on Sept. 25, 2022. Photo credit: Aaliyah Skipper

“Today we honor two Fullerton greats who not only contributed great plays on the field but in life. Both Brig and Marvin were inducted into our Athletic Hall of Fame for their athletic achievements, along with being men of superb character,” said Scott Giles, Fullerton College athletic director.

Both were were exceptional athletes at the high school, where they are on the Wall of Fame — Brig gaining attention as a quarterback, and Marv as a three-sport standout in football, basketball, and baseball.

Next stop for Brig was Fullerton Junior College. where he played quarterback for two years, leading the Hornets to the Orange Bowl Show game in the 1961 season. Several years later, Marvin followed in his older brother’s footsteps at FJC, earning 1st Team All-American honors as a quarterback, and was 2nd Team All- Conference on the baseball team.

Brig transferred to the University of Cincinnati, where he led the Bearcats to back-to-back conference championships. He was drafted by the Dallas Cowboys in 1965 and the following year traded to Washington, where he played safety for over a decade. He inducted into the University of Cincinnati Athletics Hall of Fame, and honored as a member of the Washington Commanders Ring of Fame.

Marvin was drafted in 1970 by the Oakland A’s, but chose football, playing at San Diego State for two seasons. In 1972, he was drafted by the Minnesota Vikings, and played for a season each with the St. Louis (now Arizona) Cardinals and New York Jets.

Footballs, plaques, pictures, and other memorabilia from Brig and Marvin Owens is displayed in the Fullerton Union HS gymnasium.

Footballs, plaques, pictures, and other memorabilia from Brig and Marvin Owens is displayed in the Fullerton Union HS gymnasium. Photo credit: Aaliyah Skipper

While a player, Brig served on the executive committee for the National Football League Players Association. He also began working toward his law degree from Antioch (Ohio) College, studying at the District of Columbia satellite campus.

After his playing days were over, he served as the assistant executive director and associate counsel for the NFLPA. He later went on to own a business that represented professional athletes and developed commercial real estate, as well as contributing to numerous philanthropic causes.

“I can sit up here and tell you about what Brig did for former players because we didn’t have nothing until he became a part of the executive committee. Now players if they get sick, whatever you need physically, they’ll take care of you. That’s because of Brig,” said Jim Hill, a former NFL player and friend of the brothers.

City of Fullerton's Mayor Pro Tem Bruce Whitaker presents the family with two certificates of Condolences during the ceremony.

Fullerton Mayor Pro Tem Bruce Whitaker presents the family with two certificates of condolence during the ceremony. Photo credit: Aaliyah Skipper

Marvin went on to a 30 year career in local banking and after retirement coached varsity football at Fullerton Union. He was a founding member of the Leon Owens Foundation, (named after brother Leon) which provides college scholarships and educational opportunities to local youth.

“Marvin…a hero to me. He was, is, and always will be a hero to me. I admired him for the challenges he had to face every day,” said retired FC athletic trainer Bill Chambers of Marvin, who underwent five years of dialysis before getting a kidney transplant.

As the celebration came to a close, the family expressed their sincerest gratitude for the outpouring of love given at a time of great loss.

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