Those ancestral roots eventually produced Osborne, the youngest of 10 children. Osborne said he attended North Grove Elementary — a four-room schoolhouse in the country. It’s since been torn down.
During that time, he said, his routine went something like this: go to school, come home and feed the chickens, collect the eggs, find fuel for the stove, and then listen to radio shows like “The Lone Ranger.”
“My brother and I always had to turn the volume down when the show came on because my mother didn’t like us listening to it,” he said. “She said there was too much shooting and violence.”
He also rode along with his parents to Peru once in awhile. They sold produce from their farm to area residents to make ends meet during the Great Depression.
Then it was on to Clay Township High School, where Osborne graduated in 1950. From there, he decided to attended Goshen College — a prominent Mennonite school — to become a teacher.
“I decided I didn’t want to be a farmer. It was too hard of work,” Osborne said with a laugh. “We used horses to plow and harvest hay, and it was just plain hard work.”
Teaching was an appealing occupation, but Osborne said he quickly gave up that idea.
“I always liked math and science, but unfortunately a school like Clay High School didn’t offer many prep courses for that,” he said. “I soon decided I wasn’t prepared for it. I was in way over my head.”
So he tried his hand at social work, taking classes in psychology and social sciences. But Osborne said friends and family began to nudge him in the direction of becoming a pastor.
One of the biggest influences pushing him into the ministry was his girlfriend, Joyce, whom he met at college and ended up marrying in 1954.