Clinton Osborne

Golden Eagle | Thursday, May 25 2023 |

Clinton Daniel Osborne, 99, passed away peacefully in his sleep May 25, 2023, at home on the family farm, historic Auer Landing on the banks of the Mississippi in Golden Eagle, IL, attended by his daughter and devoted caregiver, Margaret Osborne. In addition to Margaret, he is survived by daughters Catherine Becker Roe of Los Angeles, CA and Ann Osborne (Gautam Biswas) of San Jose, CA; sons Daniel (Martha Macartney) of Newtown Square, PA and James (Cathy) of Golden, CO; grandchildren Shea, Christian, and Thor Becker; Grant (Emma Dowden) and Danielle Osborne (William Clements); Matthew (Mary) and Thomas Osborne; Kate Scotland (Garrett); and Mira Biswas of California, Colorado, Montana, Texas, and Rhode Island, as well as five step-grandchildren: Renee Wagner; Tracy Johnson; Brian, Traver, and Kim Becker; and four great-grandchildren: Fiona Osborne, Jackson and Elsie Scotland, and Lily Rose Keiko Osborne. He was predeceased by his wife of 59 years, Lillian; son Mark; brother James Osborne and sisters Lucille Youngberg and Ruth Roth.

Clint was born October 19, 1923, the second son and third of four children to Grant Vernon and Barbara (Arnold) Osborne. To his childhood friends, he was affectionately known as "Peewee," the diminutive nickname belying his six-foot-plus frame. His early education took place at Deer Plain School, a one-room schoolhouse, after which he attended Brussels High School and graduated at age 16 with the Class of 1939. 

When the United States entered World War II, he enlisted in the Army Air Corps, hoping to become a pilot but, upon discovering he was color blind, became a crewman on a B-29 Superfortress, the "Devil's Darlin'," flying from the island of Saipan. Initially trained as a gun turret technician and armorer, he rose to the rank of Staff Sergeant (S/Sgt), became a CFC (Central Fire Control) lead gunner within his crew, and completed twelve bombing missions over Japan. Twice, his aircraft was damaged badly and the crew was forced to ditch at sea. After the first crash landing, he left the safety of his life raft, swam in the dark of night and rescued a fellow crewman who had been separated from the other survivors in the Pacific Ocean and severely injured. Clinton was granted unit campaign ribbons and awarded the Air Medal and the Soldier's Medal for risking his life for the sake of a fellow crew member.

After the war, he married the love of his life, Lillian, a nurse, and together they raised six children in Alton, IL. He worked for 44 years as a machinist for Owens-Illinois and, after retiring, moved with Lillian back to Golden Eagle where he was born. Together they gardened, traveled, and offered gracious hospitality until her passing in 2008. 

Clint had a sharp intellect and intellectual curiosity, and remained vigorously active into his late years. He ziplined on his 89th birthday and, at age 93, toured the USS Pampanito, a submarine identical to the USS Ronquil which rescued his crew after their second ditching and they lived aboard six days before they were brought back to their base on Saipan. He walked across the Golden Gate Bridge at 94, wielded a chainsaw at 95 and, until a year ago, still tinkered on the farm, drove his pickup truck, and rode his lawn tractor. 

He also played a mean game of Scrabble, using all seven letters in a single play far more frequently than his opponents decades younger. Ever modest, he attributed his wins more to the luck of the draw than how he played them. He approached life with Stoicism, asserting that he had only two bad days in his life (reference ditchings at sea, above). While not one to openly express his feelings, when his beloved St. Mary’s Church in Brussels suffered a fire in 2011, he was brought to tears. Hardworking and dependable, he revealed in private moments the depths of his strength and love. His humble and generous spirit will be missed by his family, friends, and community.

A Memorial Mass celebrating Clint's life will be held Saturday, June 24, at 10:00 a.m. at St. Mary's Church in Brussels, IL, followed by a veteran's honors ceremony and reception at the nearby American Legion Hall. As the coda to a life dedicated to his family, faith, and fellow human beings, Clint donated his body to Washington University School of Medicine. In Clint's memory, donations to the Alzheimer’s Association, St. Mary’s School in Brussels, IL, or to a charity of one's choice are gratefully acknowledged.

Online condolences can be given at

Obit Provided By:
Gress, Kallal and Schaaf Funeral Home

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