Sunday, July 7, 2013

Donald Osborne

Donald Osborne, A Special American Scot and Friend

Don Osborne was indeed a special American Scot, proud of his Scottish heritage and always eager to assist in Scottish events and relationships whenever called upon by his fellow Scots, in a city, Sarasota, Florida, which was first settled by 65 “heat-seeking” Scots from Glasgow, Scotland in 1865.

Don was a longtime member of the Caledonian Club of Florida West and served very ably as it membership chair, enlisting 52 new members one year, which broke an old record of 47 - his happy smile and “interested in you” demeanor doing much to achieve that record, which still stands - and later became president of the club.

Don was also creative and, when president, upon hearing of the local group called the Sarasota Sister City Association, inquired if we had a Scottish sister city.  It seemed only natural to Don that a town settled by Scots should have a Scottish sister city.   

Upon learning there was no Scottish sister city, Don set about, with the sponsorship of the Caledonian Club, in developing a sister city relationship with a city in Scotland by the name of Dunfermline, already well known to Sarasota because its old opera house, disassembled to make room for a shopping center, had been “discovered by Sarasota arts enthusiasts and carefully shipped from Scotland and beautifully restored in Sarasota to become the “mainstage” of the famed Asolo Repertory Theatre.

With the blessing of the Caledonian Club and the Sarasota Sister Cities Association, Don, alone, flew to Scotland, motored to Dunfermline and convinced the city fathers of that ancient capital of Scotland that it should become a sister city of Sarasota, Florida – and it did! Since that time, the sister city relationship between these two cities has become the most active of Sarasota’s eight sister cities, engaging annually in citizen exchanges in the arts, business, education, sports and government.

Even after moving to Montgomery, Alabama for family health considerations, Don would frequently call his many friends in Sarasota to keep up to date on Scottish activities there.

Donald Osborne was indeed a special Scot and a very special friend.

With great affection, William (Bill) Wallace

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Obituary for long time Sister Cities member Don Osborne from the Sunday, July 7 edition of the Sarasota Herald Tribune:


Sep. 6, 1922 - Jun. 5, 2013 

Donald Osborne was born in St. Paul, MN on September 6, 1922 and died on June 5, 2013 in Montgomery, AL. He was preceded in death by his wife, Jeanne and son Roger.

He was a World War II Navy veteran serving on the submarine tender USS Orion in the South Pacific. He was Executive Director of Hillcrest Family Services in Dubuque, Iowa for 22 years and retired after a 40 year career in Social Work.

Don lived in the Sarasota area for 13 years from 1995 to 2008. Don was active in the Lakewood Ranch Rotary Club, Mental Health Community Centers, Red Cross, Sister Cities Association and the Caledonian Club.

Survivors include his wife, Karen Osborne, son, David and wife Linda, daughters, Barbara and Nancy Barker and husband Gordon, three grandchildren, and three great grandchildren.

In lieu of flowers, memorials can be made to Mental Health Community Centers. The memorial service will be at 1PM, Wednesday, July 10, 2013 at the Hadley Chapel on the campus of Hillcrest Family Services in Dubuque, Iowa.