On January 26th, just two days after his 95th birthday, Howard Osburn passed peacefully at home in Neodesha with his family. He was preceded in death by the love of his life Doris Evelyn Long Osburn, and his siblings, Kenneth A. Osburn, Orlie F. Osburn, Lola M. Bomboy, Marvin R. Osburn, Barney Lee “Jim” Osburn, Harold “Hub” Osburn, Dorothy Elaine LaForte, and Donna Jean Osburn. He was also preceded in death by three great granddaughters.
Howard was born January 24th 1928 to Oliver Ernest (Barney) Osburn, of Barney’s Little League, and Bertha Alice Theresa Hawthorn, at their farmhouse east of Neodesha. He was the seventh of nine children. He grew up as a typical farm kid, as did many of that time, but from the stories told, shenanigans with his brothers and neighbors were a common theme.
Howard entered the Army Air Corps during the last year of WWII. While on a train reporting to active duty, he met and was smitten with a young lady named Doris from Desloge, Missouri, and the next time they saw each other was when Les Redington drove him to marry her. He completed his military service as a B-29 hydraulic mechanic in San Francisco, and was set to go to Washington University to study aerospace engineering but he chose to come home to raise his family in Neodesha instead.
Howard farmed and worked several different jobs, but his goal was to get on at Standard Oil, which he ultimately did. At the refinery he ran the ultraformer unit. He was recruited to Decatur, Alabama in 1967 when Amoco bought Standard. He was in charge of the paraxylene unit there. After retirement, Amoco contracted him to make two extended trips to China to assist in starting up new units. He was always very proud of his work in the chemical industry and told us stories of his work up until his passing. He and Doris moved back home to Neodesha in 1987.
Howard is survived by his two children, Charlotte Lynn Ponder (Cecil) of Decatur AL, and Charles Kevin Osburn (Jetta) of Neodesha, KS, grandchildren Dawne Adams Lowden (Chris Jabben), Holly Smith (Kirk), Jennifer Osburn, Dustin Osburn (Jessica Hall), and Casey Osburn. He has six great grandchildren and two great-great grandchildren. He was also a father figure to many nieces and nephews and friends.
Services will be held Thursday February 2nd at 1:00 at First Christian Church of Neodesha, 702 Wisconsin, and the Visitation will be Wednesday February 1st from 5:00-7:00 P.M. at Loran Fawcett Funeral Home. Come ready to share stories because Howard loved a good story.
Memorials are suggested to B-29 Doc, a flying museum to honor the men and women who designed, built, flew and maintained B-29s in WWII. Checks can be left at the funeral home or mailed, or donate online at b29doc.com.