Jonathan had a long and notable career with Starfleet to which he had dedicated most of his life. While he would often sacrifice his family life in order to serve he was still adamant that his oldest son Matthew Owens would follow in his footsteps and become a Starfleet officer. His insistence would ultimately lead his son to distance himself from his family, garnering him great resentment from his younger son Michael later in his life.
After having lost Matthew to a career of science, Jonathan focused on and eventually succeeded in convincing Michael to join Starfleet Academy.
However his relationship with his youngest son would soon sour after rumors appeared that he had used his influence to advance his son's career. Michael Owens would also later blame his father for the tragic death of his brother.