MILFORD — Osborn (Oz) Eggleston, 91, went to be with his Lord on March 15, 2013, at his home, with his family at his side.
Oz was born Dec. 6, 1921, son of J. Ward and Maria (Osborn) Eggleston and lived his entire life on Eggleston Hill in the town of Middlefield. Along with his five brothers and two sisters, he learned his work ethics on the family farm. This was also the scene of nurturing the love of family, friends and neighbors.
Third in his class, Oz graduated from Milford High School, Class of 1939, where he continued to take post-graduate courses. While never pursing a formal higher education, Oz was an avid reader. In the late 1930s, he took out a life subscription to Reader’s Digest. Current copies are still on his side table.
During WWII, Oz and his five brothers advanced the war effort on their productive family farm. At that time it produced a bounty of fruits, vegetables and animals. The Eggleston Farm was known throughout the area for its berries.
The Milford Methodist Church was a familiar part of Oz’s youth where he was a member of the choir. In 1945, Elizabeth Jean Adamy was not only the new music teacher at school, but also the church choir director. August 14, 1947, they tied the knot and became partners in the family farm and raising seven children. It was at this time that Oz developed the dairy farm that is still in operation today, run by two of his sons. Oz was a member of the Dairymen’s League Co-op and held officer positions in the early years.
Oz enjoyed his work on the farm and helping out his neighbors, often putting their work before his own. He took joy in having his siblings, nephews and nieces visit the farm and share in its bounties. In 1955, land across the road from the farm was given to his in-laws, who built a retirement home that he and Betty eventually enjoyed.
Approaching retirement, Oz returned to the choir at church and soon after, joined Betty as a member of the Catskill Choral Society, where he sang bass for many years. Betty and Oz toured Europe with the NYS Chamber Choir in 1981. Music was always a part of his life and he could be heard humming tunes right up to the end.
During retirement, Betty and Oz moved across the road where Oz could finally enjoy his passion of gardening and raising raspberries. In addition to filling his own freezer, root cellar and canning shelves, he had plenty of produce to share with family, friends and neighbors. He literally donated tons of potatoes and winter squash to Portlandville for their bi-annual church dinners over the years. He would freeze hundreds of quarts of raspberries and rhubarb and make fresh jam all year long. Friends and family would never leave his home empty handed.
Oz enjoyed the nature around him especially on Eggleston Hill. Whether feeding the birds, observing the wild turkeys or commenting about the turkey vultures circling overhead, he would make reference to them in his annual holiday letters that were a treat to read; full of whit, humor and life long lessons worthy of sharing. While Oz never amassed great treasures, his wealth was with his family, friends and neighbors that made it possible for him to maintain his independence at home.
Osborn is survived by three daughters, Kathryn (Cal) Chase, Oneonta, Sandra (Mark) Andrews, Wilmington, Del., Janet (George) Blatsos, Eggleston Hill; four sons, Jeffrey, Eggleston Hill, Robert (Diane), Skaneateles, Ralph (Laura), Eggleston Hill, Philip (Kelly) Vicksburg, Miss.; 15 grandchildren, Christopher, Jeffrey and Kelly Chase, Kristin, Craig, Diane, Tony, Sarah and Hugh Andrews, Jason Blatsos, Jennifer and James Eggleston, Elijah and Erica Eggleston and Ellen Eggleston; three great- grandchildren, Cappagnia-Lynn Chase, Nolan Andrews and Brandon Boyce; four brothers, Niles, Milford Center, Seymour ‘Zip,’ Webster, Gordon, North Carolina, James (Bev), Harpursville; one sister, Marian (George) Brennan, Ariz. He is also survived by many extended family members, friends and neighbors.
Oz has now joined his best friend, partner and wife of 58 years, Betty, who passed on in 2006. He is also predeceased by his sister, Genevieve and brother, Groff, as well as two grandchildren, Eric and Christie Chase.
All who knew and loved Oz are invited to a memorial service celebrating his life at the Milford United Methodist Church at 1 p.m. Saturday, April 6, with the Rev. Maryellen Moore, pastor of the church, officiating. The family will be in attendance at the church after the service for a reception to receive friends. Burial service will be Friday, July 12, in the Milford Cemetery.
In lieu of flowers, the family suggests that those who so desire make contributions to the Milford United Methodist Church Memorial Fund, P.O. Box 127, Milford, NY 13807 or to the Milford Emergency Squad, P.O. Box 359, Milford, NY 13807 or to the Catskill Area Hospice, 1 Birchwood Drive, Oneonta, NY 13820.
Arrangements are under the supervision of Tillapaugh Funeral Service, Cooperstown.