Robert Osburn
Robert Osburn
Robert Osburn

Obituary of Robert Lewis Osburn

Robert Lewis Osburn, affectionately known as “Bob,” passed away on Tuesday, June 18, 2019, in the Legacy Good Samaritan Hospital in Portland, Ore. He was 83 years old and a long-time resident of Trout lake.

Bob began his life’s journey in Lewiston, Idaho, on Jan. 15, 1936. His parents were Roy and Mildred Osburn. Raised on a wheat ranch in Craigmont, Idaho, Bob lost his mother when he was six months old. Filling the vacuum was a gracious and loving woman from the community named Florence Bright, who eventually became his stepmother and significantly influenced and shaped his early life as a follower of Christ. The foundation of faith she laid followed him through Sunday School in his childhood to a vibrant community Bible study in the closing months of his life. His personal relationship with Christ was central to him and gave him certain hope for life to come.

Bob majored in electrical engineering at the University of Idaho and used his education as a platform to fulfill his boyhood dream of being a pilot. He served in the Air Force and Air National Guard for 12 years, initially training as a fighter pilot on F-86 jets and eventually flying a B-47. In 1962, he was assigned to fly his aircraft into the mushroom cloud produced by several nuclear test explosions over Christmas Island in the South Pacific in order to measure levels of radioactive exposure. It was, his best friends liked to remind him, the reason for the “glow” that seemed a perpetual part of his persona.

With his health seemingly none-the-worse for wear, Bob went to fly the global skies, piloting 747s for Pan Am for 26 years and for Delta Airlines for a further 4 years. Though retirement had a way of rooting his feet more firmly on terra firma, he could never countenance being completely ground.

“Bob’s Field” in Trout Lake included a manageable airstrip and hosted his 1948 Navion single engine aircraft, last flown to the Madras Air Show in August 2017 at the age of 81. You can’t (quite literally it seems) keep a good man down.

When he couldn’t physically inhabit air space, Bob had ever ready access to the air waves instead. A HAM radio enthusiast from his earliest years, his call sign – W7XS – was a fixture to others of his ilk from places as Fiji, Australia, Japan and Europe. Airplanes, air space and airwaves will all miss his presence! He has now “slipped the surly bonds of earth…and touched the face of God.” (High Flight – John J. Magee)

Bob is survived by his life-long love Donita (Rogers) Osburn, whom he married 57+ years ago on Sept. 24, 1961, in Spokane. He is also survived by his daughter Katherine Lambe and her husband Rod (Seattle), his two sons Bradley Osburn (Trout Lake) and Timothy Osburn and his wife Makiko (Seattle), as well as granddaughter Mimiko.

A memorial service to celebrate Bob’s life will be held at the Mount Adams Baptist Church in Trout Lake at 11 a.m. on Friday, June 28, 2019. All friends and family are welcome.

“They that wait upon the Lord shall renew their strength; they shall mount up with wings as eagles; they shall run, and not be weary; and they shall walk, and not faint.” Isaiah 40:31