Jerome T. Osborne, family patriarch, dead at 92

02:30 AM 26 Jun 2014 NZST
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Jerome T. Osborne, Sr., harness racing
Jerome T. Osborne, Sr.

Jerome T. Osborne, Sr., the founder of Osborne Companies Inc. and self-made entrepreneur, businessman and philanthropist, of Mentor, died peacefully on Saturday, June 21 surrounded by family and his beloved dog Drummond. He was 92. He was a prominent harness racing owner at Northfield Park and throughout Ohio.

He is a member of the honorary Distinguished Owners that is awarded to one individual every three years at Northfield's Wall of Fame banquet. He has owned two horses that have been inducted into Northfield Wall of Fame (Osborne's Gypsy and Majestic Osborne).

Mr. Osborne has owned multiple Ohio stakes winners and champions. Most of his horses have raced under the "Osborne" name. Even at his time of death, he owned horses. Eric Hamlet has been his long-time trainer. Mr. Osborne's granddaughter, Kimberley, is married to Northfield Park owner and Chairman, Brock Milstein.

Mr. Osborne, affectionately known as “Ace,” was born on April 6, 1922 and grew up on his family’s farm in Mentor. As a kid, he raced ponies at the Lake County Fair, cleaned the stalls of his father’s draft horses and searched for lost balls to clean and resell at Lost Nation Golf Course, which his father built in 1927. 

With his competitive spirit, intuitive business acumen and the work ethic acquired in his youth, Mr. Osborne started his professional career in 1941 in the custom farming business, growing soybeans on about 200 acres of land. In 1947 he founded Osborne Coal and Feed Co., serving the coal and feed needs of local farmers with a single truck he purchased with $50 he borrowed from his high school sweetheart Georgeanne.

Today, his empire includes 19 corporations in the concrete and building supply industry and employs more than 250 people. The humble, private man who anonymously donated much of his fortune to charity never retired. Work, like boating and racing horses, was a hobby and a passion. Mr. Osborne also built an empire in the home. He was the patriarch and role model to 9 children, 26 grandchildren, 33 great grandchildren and 3 great great grandchildren and still counting. The devoted husband, father, grandfather, great grandfather, friend and employer will always be remembered as a shrewd businessman with an unmistakable down-to-earth style who loved his work, horses, dogs, boats and his red pickup truck. 

Mr. Osborne is survived by his wife MaryAnn (Childs) Osborne; children Richard M. Osborne, Michael E. (Nancy) Osborne, Georgeanne (Gary) Gorman, Jacqueline Osborne-Fisher, Jeremy C. Osborne and Maryann A. Osborne; grandchildren Jerome T. III, Colleen, Natalie, Cynthia, Jennifer, Bethann, Rick Jr., Gregory, Nathan, Morgan, William Jr., Matthew, Michael Jr., Kimberley, Lance, Brian, Shannon, Tripp, Brandon, Erica, Rachel and Grant; great grandchildren Jerome Trask IV, Amanda, Megan, Danielle, Steven, Kristyn, Kaitlyn, Blaise, Ashley, Nicolette, Lindsey, Brittany, Chealsey, Marc, Isabella,Tessa, Rick III.,Tatum, Christina, Regina, Loreto, Zackary, Michaela, Sarah, Acacia, Gregory Jr., Mack, Chase, Elliott, Nancy, William III, Kimberley and Christine; and great-great grandchildren Braylen, Aubrey and Paisley.

He was preceded in death by his wife Georgeanne (Slinkard) Osborne; children Gregory T. Osborne, Jerome T. (Maureen) Osborne Jr., and Kimberley (William) Krug and his grandchildren Mildred, Liza, Tommy and Preston. 

A Memorial Service will be held at 11:00a.m. Saturday June 28 at Andrews Osborne Academy, 38588 Mentor Ave., Willoughby, OH 44094. The family also invites friends to offer condolences and celebrate his life from 9:30-11:00a.m. and 3pm-5:30pm that day at the same location. Interment will be in Mentor Cemetery. 

Red is the new black. Family and friends are invited to wear red, Ace’s favorite color. 

In lieu of flowers contributions can be made in memory of Mr. Osborne to the Andrews Osborne Academy, Preston’s H.O.P.E. or Hospice of the Western Reserve. 

Arrangements entrusted to the Brunner Sanden Deitrick Funeral Home & Cremation Center 8466 Mentor Ave., Mentor, OH 44060. Offer condolences at www.brunners.com.

 

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