OBITUARY: Thomas Lloyd Osburn Sr.


Thomas Lloyd Osburn Sr. was born Oct 2 1941 in Galveston TX, and was the only child of Benjamin and Nellie (Thompson) Osburn, both from farm families in the Madisonville KY area.

Ben’s US Army career led the family to TX and after a few years, they settled in El Paso, where Tommy attended elementary school. He was an enthusiastic reader, but was slow at it, and did not get his first pair of glasses at age 11. Once he could see, a strong aptitude in math and science emerged.

Later the family relocated to a permanent home in Nashville overlooking the Fairgrounds. Young Tommy delivered groceries on his bicycle as a teen and later at Central High School (literally across the street) excelled as a student and became manager of the school’s basketball team. At age 16 his parents gave him a subscription to The Magazine of Fantasy & Science Fiction. Ben worked at the veteran’s hall and Tommy collected some early rock records from the VFW’s jukebox. Upon his 1959 graduation, he went to George Peabody College (now Vanderbilt) where he majored in Math and minored in chemistry.

There in 1962, he met a freshman student, Diana Bostick and a relationship followed. Against all advice, these two kids eloped on Apr 12, 1963 and lived in the mother-in-law’s suite on the back of Ben & Nellie’s home. Money was tight and there was a military draft, so Tom joined the US Navy as an Officer’s Candidate. The day of his Officer’s Pin ceremony was Nov 22, 1963. After a brief time in GA, Tom became the payroll officer on the guided missile cruiser USS Providence, which toured the Pacific and spent time in Australia. They saw no combat.

By the time Tom’s 4 year stint in the Navy ended the new family had 3 children and they lived in Phoenix AZ. With Tom’s strong mathematical aptitude and it being 1967 he looked to work in the computer industry along the California coast. Briefly at GE and then at Control Data Corp for 10 years; he did hardware maintenance, later learned and used 4 coding languages (C+, Cobol, Fortran and CDC’s own proprietary one). Living in Corona and later Poway, the family grew to six children.

In late 1977 his job search led back to Nashville where he worked for Prime and Microdata, both as a hardware engineer. Tom and Diana joined the Nashville Science Fiction Club in 1978 just as it was reaching its activity and membership peak years. Two SF conventions were active in Nashville 1972-2005, Kubla Khan and Xanadu and the family participated in many of these. Tom & Diana ran a food concession there and Tom was seen selling Stephen King a hot dog (see Tom’s Facebook profile image).

Tom & Diana broke up in 1981 but never actually divorced. She died in an accident in 1995. After some career ups and downs, Tom’s last work was for MedQuest (records-keeping). He lived with his his widowed mother until her death in 1995 and then mostly his daughter Rachel in Madison & Springfield, he was close to her three children.

For the last 6 years, he lived with his youngest son Ren and his family, in Franklin and Nolensville. He died on March 23 after a brief but intense and terrible illness.

Tom is survived by his 5 sons Thomas II, Sean, Benjamin, Christopher and Ren, 12 grandchildren and 7 great-grandchildren. He was preceded in death by his parents Ben & Nellie, his wife Diana, and daughter Rachel.


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