Penn Mourns Loss of Owen Thomas

PHILADELPHIA - The Penn Athletic Department and football program are mourning the loss of junior Owen Thomas, a member of Penn’s football team, after his passing Monday afternoon.

“The Penn Football family is deeply saddened with the news of the sudden death of one of our shining lights, Owen Thomas,” said Penn’s George A. Munger Head Coach of Football, Al Bagnoli. “Owen was a remarkable young man, a true scholar-athlete, an ambassador for Penn, a tremendous teammate and leader on and off the field, as well as a caring and outstanding brother. It is a testament to the person he was that his teammates had voted him captain for the upcoming season. His loss will be felt for a long time. Our thoughts and prayers go out to his family during this time.”

“The Department is working with the many support services that exist at Penn including the Office of the Chaplain, the Vice Provost for University Life, Counseling and Psychological Services, among others, to lend support to Owen’s friends and teammates who are devastated by his untimely passing,” Penn Athletic Director Steve Bilsky said. “All of us share the grief expressed by Coach Bagnoli and offer condolences to the entire Thomas family at this time.”

Thomas was a second-team All-Ivy selection last season as Penn won the Ivy League championship and went 8-2 overall. As a junior, he led the nation's top-ranked defense in sacks. Thomas started all 10 games on Penn's defensive line for the second straight season and finished second in the Ivy League with six sacks. Aided by Thomas, Penn ranked No. 1 in the country in total defense and scoring defense in 2009, and was second in the FCS in rushing defense and pass efficiency defense.

A native of Allentown, Pa., Thomas was a two-year letterwinner for the Quakers and helped anchor a defense that ranked No. 1 in the Ivy League in each of the last two seasons. The Parkland High School product finished the 2009 season with 29 tackles and 8.0 tackles for loss as the Quakers led the Ivy League in every major defensive category. He had a career-best eight tackles in Penn's 21-3 win over Bucknell at Franklin Field on Oct. 10.

Thomas had been voted as one of Penn’s four captains for the upcoming football season by his teammates.

Services: Funeral services will be held 10:30 a.m., Monday, May 3, 2010 at Union UCC, 5550 Route 873, Neffs, Pa. Family and friends may call after 6:30 p.m. Sunday in the Heintzelman Funeral Home, Inc., 4906 Route 309, Schnecksville and Monday, 9:30 – 10:30 a.m. in the church. Interment will follow the service at Union Church Cemetery, Neffs. Online expressions of sympathy may be recorded at www.heintzelmancares.com.

Contributions: The family requests that you do not send flowers. Memorial gifts may be given to The Memorial Fund of Union UCC and/or the Lehigh County Conference of Churches Soup Kitchen c/o the funeral home, P.O. Box #196, Schnecksville, Pa., 18078-0196.