William A. (Bill) Osborne passed away on May 13, 2021 at 99 years of age.
There are no funeral services scheduled at this time.
He was born on Christmas Day in 1921 in Terrell, Texas to Michie and Bess Mae Hamilton Osborne. Around 1923, his family moved to west Texas where his father, uncle and grandfather were cotton farmers. Following the Stock Market crash of 1929 his dad and uncle sold out and his family moved to Dallas where his father went to work for the Veterans Administration. When he was about 12 years old his family relocated to Waco for his father to help build the V.A. in Waco. He attended Bell’s Hill Grade school and South Junior High School in Waco.
About the time that he was entering high school, he went to work at Cameron Mills. The War in Europe had just broken out and he worked half a day and went to school the other half. He was in his senior year at Waco High, when Pearl Harbor was attacked. He knew he would be drafted so he arranged with a teacher to graduate at mid-term. On January 15, 1942 he enlisted in the Air Force. He wanted to be a pilot but was not allowed, since he had sustained an injury to his eye as a child. He displayed a high mechanical aptitude and skill, so he was trained as an airplane mechanic.
He served in the USAAF, 415th Night Fighter Squadron ground crew in Italy and later in France, where the Night Fighter Squadrons pioneered night flying techniques that are still used today. His quick thinking and courage once saved a fighter pilot from a fiery death after his damaged aircraft flipped on the runway. He grabbed a rifle from a terrified guard and busted out the canopy to pull the pilot to safety. In regard to his military service in WWII, he said simply, “I was just honored to have been a part of it”. He was honorably discharged from active duty in 1945. He served in the Air Force Reserve from 1945 to 1948. He was recalled to active duty in 1950 to serve in the Korean Conflict. He was released from reserve duty in 1952.
He was employed as a methods examiner at James Connally AFB, Waco. In 1959, he went to work as an industrial specialist in the Defense Contract Administration Service office at Rocketdyne’s McGregor plant. In 1965, he was assigned to production surveillance over all military contracts assigned to the Solid Rocket division. He retired from the Defense Supply Agency after 30 years of service, while living in Phoenix, Arizona. They returned to her family farm shortly after his retirement.
He married his beloved Christine Buth in 1971. He was an avid outdoorsman whose hobbies included hunting, fishing, rock hunting and polishing, collecting arrowheads and metal detecting. He and Christine RV’d through all 50 states. He never lost his love for aviation. He acquired his pilot license and owned several planes even one that he built. When he was unable to fly anymore, he enjoyed building remote control airplanes. He was an avid reader and enjoyed watching Texas Ranger baseball.
He was preceded in death by his parents; sisters, Betty Sue Smith and infant Rose; brothers, Tex and Donald Osborne.
Bill had a youthful spirit, loving and embracing life and will be missed very much.
He is survived by his beloved wife of 49 years, Christine; brother, Bobby Osborne; five daughters, Phyllis Meyers, Kathryn Miller and husband, William, Sandi Fuller and husband, Robert, Kim Hughes, Denise Ledford and husband, Gary; grandchildren, Katherine Stripling, Jenna Zeigler, Jessette Roe and Alexa Challey; great grandchildren, Morgan, Helena, and William, his almost like a daughter, Brenda Byrom and a host of great neighbors and friends.