John B. "Jack" Owens, who had been a principal in the family-owned Owens Yacht Co., the legendary Annapolis boat builder, and later established a real estate firm, died Saturday of heart failure at his Naples, Fla., home. He was 96.
In 1936, he and his brothers purchased 8 acres on Bear Creek in Dundalk, where they built a state-of-the-art industrial plant. They adapted the mass-production methods used by the auto industry to boatbuilding.
During its first year in Dundalk, 50 employees built 40 single-design cabin cruisers, and in 1940, 275 workers constructed 150 boats.