Rear Admiral Oakley E. Osborn, USN (Ret.)

1933 to 2015


Rear Admiral "Oak" Osborn passed away on June 24, 2015 in Denver. He was born on Oct. 25, 1933 on his family's farm near Dalton to Ernest Easter Osborn and Lily Jorgenson Osborn. Following graduation from Colorado State University in 1955 with a degree in General Agriculture, he volunteered for Aviation Officer Candidate School and earned his wings as a Naval Aviator in 1957. Returning briefly to Nebraska to marry Catherine Heaton, Oak embarked on a 32-year naval career that led him and Cathy on adventures around the world.

Beginning his career flying the Navy's P-2V Neptune, Oak was one of the first pilots to transition to the new P-3 Orion in 1963. In the mid-1960s he served on the staffs of Commander Anti-Submarine Warfare Group Five and Commander Patrol Force Seventh Fleet. He earned a Masters Degree in Personnel Management from the Naval Postgraduate School, and was a student at the Army Command and General Staff College at Fort Leavenworth, Kan. In the 1970's he served in numerous capacities on the Chief of Naval Operations staff in the Pentagon including as Anti-Submarine Warfare readiness and training officer, and executive assistant to the Director of Anti-Submarine Warfare and Ocean Surveillance. He served in three patrol and anti-submarine squadrons before commanding Patrol Squadron Forty (VP-40) at Moffett Field, CA and Patrol Wing Five (CPW-5) at Brunswick, ME. He was promoted to Rear Admiral in 1981, the first graduate of Aviation Officer Candidate School to achieve flag rank in the Navy. Flag tours included Deputy Director for Operations in the National Military Command Center; Commander Patrol Wings Pacific Fleet; and Deputy Director, Defense Mapping Agency.

After retirement from the Navy in 1988, Oak worked for Blue Marble Geographics, DeLorme Mapping, and Martin Marietta Corporation; and volunteered for numerous non-profit and charity organizations. He and Cathy traveled extensively and enjoyed the company of their children and grandchildren while seasonally commuting between Winthrop, ME and Dade City, Fla.

Oak was a dedicated fitness nut, kayaking or bicycling daily. It was only after multiple hip surgeries that he reluctantly gave up his two-wheeled razor scooter. As the consummate do-it-yourself guy, conditioned from early years on the farm, Oak maintained a meticulously organized collection of tools and spare parts that he could somehow cobble together to fix anything.

Following Cathy's death in 2010, Oak relocated his winter quarters to Stevensville, Md. where he resided with son Brian and daughter-in-law Carrie who had renovated an apartment attached to their home just for Grandpa. At his beloved summer home in Winthrop, Oak enjoyed hosting visits by his children and grandchildren, maintaining the cottage, volunteering, and socializing with his many friends and neighbors

Oak is survived by sons Bradley, Brian and Thomas; daughter Sarah; six granddaughters; and five grandsons. He was preceded in death by his wife of 53 years, Catherine Heaton Osborn of Sidney.

He will be interred with full military honors at Arlington National Cemetery alongside Cathy in 2016.


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