Oliver Osborn, the son of Oliver Steele Osborn and Leigh White Osborn was born in El Paso, Texas on June 10, 1917. He died on March 28th at 4:00 a.m. in his home with his wife, daughter and son by the bedside.
He moved to a cotton farm outside of El Paso at Clint, Texas when he was 5. During his seven years there he developed a great love for the outdoors, birds and wild animals and he tried to tame all of them.
He is survived by his daughter, Jane Osborn Phillips (Mark); his son, John Oliver Osborn (Terri). His youngest son Paul White Osborn preceded him in death last summer. He also has four grandchildren with their spouses and seven great-grandchildren and numerous nieces, nephews and grand nieces and nephews.
Because of the persuasion of his father he went to Texas A&M reluctantly and graduated with a B.S. in Chemical Engineering in 1938. He was not able to get a job as an engineer because of the Great Depression so he went to the oil fields of West Texas and worked as a roustabout for three years. Unexpectedly an Aggie classmate wrote him in early 1941 that Dow Chemical Co. was building a plant in Freeport and was hiring Chemical Engineers. He made a trip to Freeport and was hired on the spot by Ethel Dow. Within a few months Dow started building a wartime magnesium plant and he was made Superintendent of the Instrument Dept. He was granted a Presidential deferment from armed service and spent the years of World War II making magnesium for the war effort.
During his 37 years as a Dow employee, he worked as a Supervisor in four different research departments. He worked on research to detect hurricanes in the Gulf of Mexico before the National Weather Service. He had seventeen patents including several for cathodic protection. He was a member of the American Chemical Society, the Society of Chemical Engineers and the Electro Chemical Society. He was an honorary member of Tau Beta , the Seahorse Institute and Future Farmers of America. He has been retired for 40 years.
He became a member of St. Paul’s Episcopal Church in Freeport and it was there that he met his wife, Emily Butler, through her sister, Betty Lane and Betty’s husband, Jimmy Lane, also employed by Dow Chemical Co. They have been married 68 years. They soon built a home in the Lake Jackson Farms Subdivision where he lived for 65 years. They hosted many picnics in their spacious yard shaded by large live oak trees.
He was very partial to Texas A&M and talked a number of young people to attend. He wrote probably 30 letters of recommendation for prospective high school seniors who wanted to go to A&M. He contributed to several academic scholarships. He was Chairman of the A&M Research Foundation that sponsored research between industry and A&M. He received both the Engineering Dept. Honorary Member Award and the Chemical Engineering Honorary Award.
Oliver was chairman of the committee to establish St. Timothy’s Episcopal Church. He was a frequent Vestry Member and Senior Warden. He was an ardent supporter of an evangelistic men’s group, The Brotherhood of St. Andrews and received all their merit awards. He visited Wayne Scott Prison for 30 years and established a subchapter of the Brotherhood there with a membership of 50 men that attend regular meetings every Sunday.
He was also instrumental in the development of His Love Counseling Center. He was a team leader and head cook preparing several wild game dinners as fund raisers.
He was Chief Cook of a deer hunters group for over 40 years and made a yearly deer hunt in West Texas. Out of these hunts came a Dutch oven cookbook entitled “Salt to Taste” assembled by one of his granddaughters-in-law.
Mr. Osborn was a Master Naturalist and a member of the Brazosport Garden Club. He had prepared slide shows and talks on Texas Wildflowers, Native Plants of Brazoria County and vegetable gardening. He developed a planting schedule that would produce fresh vegetables in all seasons.
In the 1970’s he started investing in real estate to provide added income in his retirement years. Of these investment his family will always have a 550 acre ranch in Freestone County. His son John loved the ranch so much he persuaded his father not to sell it and now it is the center for the extended Osborn family.
Mr. Osborn’s funeral will be held at St. Timothy’s Episcopal Church at 10:00 a.m. on Thursday, April 5th. Following the funeral friends are invited to a Reception/Brunch in the Parish Hall at the church. In lieu of flowers, memorials can be made to St. Timothy’s Episcopal Church, Texas A&M Scholarship Fund, and His Love.