Cover photo for Robert Osborne's Obituary
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1933 Robert 2016

Robert Osborne

September 6, 1933 — December 7, 2016

Robert Donald Osborne
September 6, 1933 – December 7, 2016

Robert D. “Bob” Osborne of Cottonwood Heights, Utah, passed away on December 7 at St. Mark’s Hospital in Salt Lake City, Utah, after a short illness, with family by his side. He was born on September 6, 1933 in Buffalo, New York, to Arthur Josiah and Elsa Marie Osborne and married Phyllis Jean Mead in June 1956.  They had four children and celebrated their 60th wedding anniversary earlier this year.

Bob earned a BS in mechanical engineering from Pennsylvania State University in 1955 and subsequently pursued graduate studies in economics and finance at the State University of New York, Buffalo, and the University of Delaware. A certified professional engineer, he worked for 30 years for the DuPont Co., where he was an inventor and contributor to numerous company processes, facilities and locations.

After taking early retirement, he pursued a lifelong dream of starting a business and operated with three partners an energy and carbon recovery plant in Northeastern Pennsylvania.

An auto enthusiast who enjoyed driving many different types of vehicles, he took his family on cross-country camping trips and spent 10 years after his second retirement transporting special-needs children for the Christina School District in Delaware. In the summers, Bob and Phyllis retreated to a family cottage on Lake Seneca in the Finger Lakes region of New York. He loved visits from family and friends and relaxing in the porch swing that his father had originally built for the family home in Tonawanda, New York.

During his early years with DuPont, he worked at the company’s Niagara Falls plant, where he was charged with investigating the feasibility of linking Lakes Erie and Ontario with a U.S. channel that would complement the existing but increasingly congested Welland Canal in Canada. As a result of his work, Bob became DuPont’s corporate representative on a national panel of U.S. port directors charged with studying the feasibility of the American canal. Although the project was never built, the group’s work contributed to the enlargement of the existing canal and associated improvements.

Bob was a longtime officer and member of the Torch Club of Delaware, where he was a frequent speaker on a variety of topics of personal and professional interest. Two of his talks “A Middle East Solution” and “Economic Theory: Observations and Projections” were lead articles in The Torch , the magazine of the International Association of Torch Clubs. For five decades, he was a member and leader of the First Presbyterian Church of Newark, Delaware.

Bob is survived by his wife, Phyllis; daughters Kathleen Osborne Clute, Cheryl Osborne and Ellen Osborne Barone; son Robert D. Osborne Jr. and his wife, Carol Straka Osborne of Sandy, UT; two sons-in-law, Greg Clute and Hank Barone; and granddaughters Madeleine Clute, Elsa Osborne and Catherine Osborne. Bob is also survived by his sister, Dorothy Lee Anderson of Warminster, PA; his brother, Arthur T. Osborne of Penn Yan, NY; and numerous nieces and nephews. He is predeceased by his parents Arthur Josiah Osborne, Elsa Marie Osborne Russell, step-father Earl A. Russell, and his brother William F. Osborne.

A private family service was held on Dec. 9 and future arrangements are pending. In lieu of flowers, gifts may be made to the First Presbyterian Church, 292 West Main Street, Newark, DE 19711 , or to the Torch Foundation, care of Susan L. Breen-Held, treasurer, 3213 Maish Ave., Des Moines, IA 50321-1941 .

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