Originally Published: April 30, 2013 9:59 p.m.
On Friday, April 26, 2013, from her bed at Hospice Family Care in Prescott, Erna Mae Osborn peacefully exhaled a final breath. At her side was her husband, Ralph, who had been planning a celebration to mark the couple's 65th wedding anniversary only seven days away on May 3rd.
Erna Mae (known to most as Mae) was born in Phoenix, Ariz. on Jan. 21, 1931, the first child of Ernest and Lola (Taylor) Lehman. One year later, Mae's "twin" sister, Clara Faye, was born, soon to be followed by a brother Ernest Eugene and a few years later a second brother Walter Claude. For a number of years, Ernest and Lola owned and operated Lehman's Market on Lincoln Street in Phoenix.
Mae attended grammar school at Murphy Elementary School and graduated from Phoenix Union High School, where she expressed an interest in photography and enjoyed being a member of the pom-pom squad. One Sunday morning, while attending services at 22nd Avenue Baptist Church, she caught the eye of the youth leader. The young man's name was Ralph Osborn. Ralph had followed his parents to Arizona from Alton, Ill., after serving in the U.S. Merchant Marines during WWII and the U.S. Army directly afterwards. Romance ensued and on May 3, 1948, the couple wed.
Ralph began his career with the U.S. Postal Service and Mae started the career at which she excelled, homemaker. She was wife, friend and confidant to Ralph and the loving, caring mother of three children, David, Steven and Laura. While in Phoenix, Mae and Ralph were active in Mission Drive Baptist Church, Bethany Baptist Church and Faith Baptist Church. After the children were in school she also worked at a school cafeteria and in the lab at a semiconductor plant.
Mae had many interests. Pets included horses, goats, chickens and dogs. But, most of all she loved fishing. After Ralph retired, a favorite pastime was jumping in the motor home, driving to the lake and casting a line. Anyone coming upon her while she was fishing became an instant friend and was in for a lot of good conversation.
Mae's children grew and met their spouses providing her with 12 grandchildren. The grandchildren and their spouses have (to date) provided 27 great-grandchildren. Each was Mae's pride and joy and each benefited from her unconditional love and really great cooking.
In 1981, Ralph and Mae moved to Chino Valley. They joined and became active in the First Southern Baptist Church, where Ralph served as a deacon and, until health problems made it prohibitive, Mae was a greeter.
The 65th wedding anniversary previously scheduled for Saturday, May 4, has been canceled. Instead, a celebration of the life of Erna Mae Osborn will be at 11 a.m. at the First Southern Baptist Church in Chino Valley, Ariz.
Mae is survived by her husband Ralph Joseph Osborn; her sister Clara Faye Bonds; her brothers Ernest Eugene Lehman (Judy) and Walter Claude Lehman (Helen); her children David Lee Osborn (Zenita), Steven Frank Osborn (Denice), Laura Mae Back (Gerry); 12 grandchildren; and 27 great-grandchildren. She was predeceased by her daughter-in-law Dona Osborn and granddaughter Gloria Osborn.
Mae's family requests, that in lieu of flowers, donations be sent to Hospice of Family Care, Inc., 100 E. Sheldon St., Suite 100, Prescott, AZ 86301.
Chino Valley Funeral Home assisted the family.
Information provided by survivors.