Marvin Griffing Osborn Jr.

September 7, 1922May 29, 2018

Marvin Griffing Osborn, Jr. died May 29, 2018 at his home in Jacksonville, Florida, where he had lived since 1992 with Sally Fleming Osborn, to whom he had been married 63 years at time of her death in 2009. He was 95 years old. He was born September 7, 1922 to Marvin Griffing Osborn, Sr and Mamie Belle Hester Osborn, in Baton Rouge, Louisiana. Growing up in Baton Rouge, he spent many hours on the campus of Louisiana State University where his father was the head of the LSU Department of Journalism. His mother had been a home economics school teacher prior to her marriage and later earned a masters degree in English at LSU. Entering LSU at the age of 16, he was originally considered too young for service in World War II, so he began his graduate studies in journalism in 1942 at LSU. He served in the 22nd Division Artillery and rose to the rank of captain during his time in Europe, where he was involved in the Battle of the Bulge and other significant battles of the war. While training to go to Europe, he met Sally Fleming, a member of the Red Cross serving at an Army training facility at Carrabelle, Florida. When he went to his next assignment, they corresponded regularly and she was aware that he might be coming home on leave prior to his next assignment in Japan in the summer of 1945. While he was on leave, they were married on August 3 at Vine Street Christian Church in Nashville, Tennessee, her home. While on their brief honeymoon in Galveston, Texas, the atomic bomb was dropped on Japan, ending that phase of the war. He was allowed a quick release from service and by September 1945 he was once again in graduate school at LSU, graduating in 1946 with a master’s degree in journalism. After graduation, he was appointed associate professor and chairman of the Department of Journalism at Howard College (later named Samford University) in Birmingham, Alabama, Two years later, he was director of public relations at Mississippi State College in Starkville, Mississippi before moving the family to St. Louis, Missouri where he worked as director of public relations at Washington University. In 1960, he began a solo career helping to raise funds for colleges and universities. One of his first efforts resulted in Webster College, a small women’s college in St. Louis, being able to raise funds for a performing arts center with a matching grant from hotelier Conrad Hilton. The college also changed to a co-ed format and became a public university during that time. He went on to serve as a fund-raising consultant for Tennessee Wesleyan College, Athens, Tennessee; Phillips University and Seminary, Enid, Oklahoma; St. Xavier College where he was appointed interim president and was the first layman and non-Catholic head of that school; Loretto Heights College, Denver, Colorado; Duke University, Durham, North Carolina; Drake University, Des Moines, Iowa; University of Tampa, Tampa, Florida; Hendrix College, Conway, Arkansas; Texas Christian University, Fort Worth, Texas; McMurry College, Abilene, Texas; College of St. Scholastica, Duluth, Minnesota; and Bethany College, Bethany, West Virginia; He consulted with the United Methodist Foundation for Christian Higher Education, the Sisters of Loretto and was instrumental in the development of the Christian Church Foundation. During the course of his work with colleges, universities and faith based organizations, he was awarded honorary degrees from Phillips University and St. Xavier College in Chicago. Active in the Christian Church (Disciples of Christ), he served as elder and Sunday School teacher at Union Avenue Christian Church in St. Louis, Missouri and was a faithful member of Disciple churches in Bradenton and Jacksonville, Florida. After retiring, he was active in the Cypress Village Christian Worship, helping to establish a Legacy Fund to ensure that the work of that non-denominational group will continue to serve the residents of Cypress Village. He loved fishing, played serious chess and enjoyed summer vacations to Colorado and Michigan. He was a lifelong Sigma Chi. Harry Ice Award He was predeceased by his wife of 63 years, Sally Fleming Osborn, April 2009; sister Marilyn Osborn Jones and brothers Hal Osborn and William Osborn. He is survived by his children, daughter Jane Fleming Osborn (Charles Beadle) and son Charles Porter Osborn (Kathleen).

A graveside service is planned for August 9, 11:00 AM, Woodlawn Cemetery, Nashville, Tennessee. Visitation will be an hour prior to the service at the main building of Woodlawn Cemetery. Donations may be made to the Sally Fleming and Marvin G. Osborn Fund, Christian Church Foundation, P.O. Box 1986 Indianapolis, Indiana 46206-1986.


  • Gathering of Family and Friends Thursday, August 9, 2018
  • Graveside Memorial Thursday, August 9, 2018

Marvin Griffing Osborn Jr.

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