Wayne Owens, 65, a Utah Democrat who had represented Salt Lake City in the House of Representatives for eight years and who was a founder of Washington's Center for Middle East Peace and Economic Cooperation, was found dead Dec. 18 on a beach in Tel Aviv.

A State Department spokesman said that the cause of death was unknown but that there were no signs of foul play.

His death came at the end of a congressional delegation visit with leaders of Syria, Egypt, Qatar, Oman, Saudi Arabia and Israel and representatives of the Palestinian Authority.

On the House's Foreign Affairs and Permanent Select Intelligence committees, Rep. Owens was an advocate of improved Middle East relations. Since leaving Congress in 1993, he had served as president of the Middle East Peace Center.

He co-founded the center with Slim Fast Foods Chairman S. Daniel Abraham in 1989 and worked with Middle East leaders to promote peace through economic development. He was present at the September 1993 White House peace summit at which then-Israeli President Yitzhak Rabin and Palestinian leader Yasser Arafat shook hands.

Douglas Wayne Owens, the son of a sheepherder and farmer, was born in Panguitch, Utah. He was a 1961 graduate of the University of Utah and a 1964 graduate of its law school.

In the 1960s, he was a staff aide to Sen. Frank E. Moss (D-Utah) and an administrative assistant to Sen. Edward M. Kennedy (D-Mass.).

He served in the House from 1973 to 1975 and ran an unsuccessful senatorial campaign in 1974 against Republican Jake Garn. Rep. Owens blamed his loss on voting to impeach President Richard M. Nixon, who remained popular in the state, while on the House Judiciary Committee.

He was president of the Montreal mission for the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints in the mid-1970s and practiced law before being reelected to the House in 1986. In 1992, he ran unsuccessfully for the Senate against Republican Robert Bennett.

In Congress, he worked on environmental legislation to protect Utah wilderness and in 1991 voted against giving President George H.W. Bush the authority to go to war against Iraq.

His interest in international relations sprung chiefly from his work on the Foreign Affairs Committee. In 1989, he held a controversial meeting in Tunisia with Arafat, during which he raised congressional concern about Palestinian-sponsored terrorism. Still, the visit raised the ire of some Israeli activists.

He had homes in Washington and Salt Lake City. He attended the Capitol Hill ward of the Mormon Church.

Survivors include his wife of 41 years, Marlene Wessel Owens of Salt Lake City; five children, Dr. Sara Ruth Owens of Santa Fe, N.M., and Elizabeth Tew, H. Douglas Owens, Stephen W. Owens and Edward W. Owens, all of Salt Lake City; two sisters; a brother; and 14 grandchildren.

Calling himself one the "ghosts of impeachment past," Wayne Owens testified before a House panel considering President Bill Clinton's fate.