Cover photo for James "Jim" Boykin Osbon's Obituary
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James "Jim" Boykin Osbon

April 30, 1938 — August 27, 2021

Fernandina Beach, FL - I’ve always disliked written obituaries that simply displayed a name, birth year and death year, in effect saying, “Well, that’s all people need to know.” That won’t happen here. My life was uplifting, exciting, surprising, loving, disappointing, fulfilling, productive, at times exhilarating, and a hundred other things. It was also pretty long. Hear me out for a minute. It started in Aiken, SC, in 1938, and ended in August 2021, with my final resting place in Aiken’s Bethany Cemetery, about 325 yards from where it all started. I had an incredible round trip. At Aiken High School, I played just about all of the sports available at the time, and I achieved All-State in basketball and football, made a ton of friends there, and built a solid base for a rich life. I won the Augusta, GA Soap Box Derby at age 15 in 1953, and raced for the national championship in Akron, Ohio. Unfortunately, I never told my parents, Geddings David Osbon and Bessie Louise Wilcher Osbon, how much credit I owed them for my successes, so let me rectify that right now. They were terrific, supportive parents, and I apologize to them for the oversight while they were alive. I took way too much credit for how I turned out. I was able to attract enough attention from the College of William and Mary in Williamsburg, VA for them to give me a full basketball scholarship in 1956, as well as a B.A. degree in Economics in 1961. The US Army accepted me into its ROTC program, and they sent me to Germany - all expenses paid - for the years 1961-1963. As events unfolded, those were exciting years to be in the Army, and they placed me in two unusual situations while I was there: I spent several weeks in 1961 being involved in filming the D-Day movie “The Longest Day”, and a year or so later I was honored to be assigned for a few months as the Officer in Charge of Checkpoint Charlie, at the Berlin Wall. It represented a lifetime of unique memories for me! Thank you, USA. When my military service was over, I was 25 years old, unemployed, and wanted to get married to begin my civilian life. IBM took care of the first need, in Richmond, VA, and Beatrice Lee McKay, my girlfriend from William and Mary, had agreed to marry me, fulfilling the second need. Oh boy, can I pick winners or not? IBM is still a thriving worldwide business today, and Bea is still my trophy wife, after 58+ years. The highest quality of both! We lived in Richmond for the next 30 years and had two sons, Keith D. Osbon and J. Neil Osbon. Both of these men became well-educated, well-adjusted contributors to our family and to our country. Somewhere along the way, I wrote four books, had four patents registered in my name, and owned or co-owned a couple of companies, including Osbon Medical Systems of Augusta. I won’t bore you with the details of other parts of my work career, but I had five separate seven-year stints of work. IBM, The Computer Company (co-founder with five others), Blue Cross of Virginia, Morrow Printing (owner), and Osbon Medical Systems (co-owner.) (Seven year itch?) But wait, there’s more. For the last 30+ years of my life, I thought “arrhythmia” was my middle name. Ask Medtronic and they will tell you that they helped to implant four of their pacemakers in me, starting in 1990. Thank you, Medtronic, for all those extra high-quality years you pumped into me that I got to enjoy. I did the most productive work of my life in that extra time I got. After retiring in 1997, Bea and I split our time between living in Richmond, Aiken, Augusta, and Amelia Island, Florida. So now, life has coasted to a halt for me, but it rolls on for all of you. I’m sorry that I won’t be around to see how my granddaughters, Kathryn, Rosemary, and Veronica turn out. I know that you sisters will be good lifelong friends and will always support each other. I’m counting on you to turn out successfully, always delivering your best, always trying to improve on what you did before. What I will miss the most, though, is my wife and best friend, Bea. When we paired up all those many years ago when I was 21 and she was 19, I was astute enough to assess her in every aspect of womanhood - as a loyal friend, as a person with common sense, as an attractive human being, as a person I was totally smitten over, as a lover, as an intelligent person, as a potential mother, and any other female traits that came to my mind at the time. She ranked higher than anyone I had ever met and subsequently, in our everyday lives, she blew away every expectation I ever had. Thank you, Bea, for that great, loving partnership we had. You were the love of my life, for sure. I can never thank you enough for all you meant to me. One of your last favors to me, I hope, is to have this obituary published in our newspapers without changing a word. In life, my siblings were Robert (Patricia), Julian (Anne, Olivia), Anthony (Marilyn), and Carolyn (Wesley, Ralph, Tillman). Unfortunately Robert and Julian have already crossed over the last river before me. The biggest surprise of my life? The amount of invaluable experience I was able to absorb from only two years in the Army. It was the key to my business successes and to the abundant confidence I discovered that I had. Graveside services will be at Bethany Cemetery (corner of Hampton Avenue and Laurens Street) in Aiken, SC at 1 PM on Saturday, September 11. A reception at Newberry Hall (117 Newberry Street SW, Aiken, SC 29801) will follow immediately after, from 2-5 PM. SHELLHOUSE FUNERAL HOME, INC., 924 HAYNE AVE., AIKEN SC Jim’s online guest book may be signed by visiting To order memorial trees or send flowers to the family in memory of James "Jim" Boykin Osbon, please visit our flower store.


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