Community gathers for Mass in memory of Owen Klinger

By Madison Pfeifer | October 22, 2019 8:11pm

Family and friends of Owen Klinger gathered for a Mass in his memory.

Media Credit: Annika Gordon / The Beacon

Owen Klinger’s family was among students, staff, faculty and other community members who packed Chapel of Christ the Teacher Tuesday afternoon for a Mass in memory of Owen.

As the community sang lyrics like “and He will raise you up on eagles wings,” family and friends of Owen embraced and cried. 

The parents of Owen Klinger made a statement after the Mass that was offered in memory of Owen. Video by Taylor Ursulum.

“There's a lot to process with that. There will be a time to celebrate life, to share the stories and there will be a funeral to bid him goodbye and to commend him to God's eternal life and love,” Fr. Jim Gallagher said. “Right now, there's just a lot of hurt, pain and sorrow. And so we gathered together to be together in that. We gathered together to recognize that God is with us in that.”

Owen Klinger went missing on Oct. 6. His body was recovered in the Willamette River on Oct. 20. Photo courtesy of the Klinger family.

The pews were filled with members of Christie Hall, Owen’s dorm, people who helped with the search effort for Owen and other community members. Owen’s parents sat in the front row.

“When he started college here, I wanted him to be present in this place and make a contribution to the group,” Mary Klinger, Owen’s mom, said. “And when I gave him that advice, I did not think he was listening. But he has made a tremendous contribution to this group by revealing how much we need each other and how connected we all are.”

On Oct. 20, a body was found in the Willamette River northwest of the St. Johns Bridge and turned over to the Multnomah Medical Examiner’s Office. Two days later, Portland Police confirmed that the body was Owen’s, but the medical examiner has not released a cause of death yet. Owen was reported missing on Oct. 6 and was last seen leaving Christie Hall around 7:30 p.m.

Police said anyone with information about the case should still contact Sgt. Joe Santos at 503-823-0406.

Owen’s family and friends attended the Mass alongside members of Christie Hall and members of Owen’s freshman workshop group.

Community members embrace after Mass.

by Annika Gordon / The Beacon

“This was an opportunity for our UP community to gather and to pray, to remember Owen and to mourn the loss of Owen, to be with one another and to gather strength from God's grace and the presence of each other and to continue our pastoral support and our personal support of a Klinger family,” Poorman said after the Mass.

Maddie Pfeifer is the News and Managing Editor for The Beacon. She can be reached at