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Former superintendent has died

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By Stephen Lega

Robert "Happy" Osborne, a former superintendent of Marion County Public Schools, died May 4.

He was 72 years old.

Osborne worked in public education for 35 years, including 12 years as the Marion County superintendent.

"He was very proud to be called Happy," said Ernest Taylor, who held a variety of positions in Marion County Schools under Osborne.

Taylor described Osborne as a unique individual who had a lot of great ideas for the district, although sometimes those ideas and how he implemented them caused some issues with others.

Taylor pointed out that several building projects were started under Osborne, including projects at West Marion Elementary, Lebanon Middle School, A.C. Glasscock Elementary and Marion County High School.

He also credited Osborne with the construction of the school district's bus garage.

"We did not have a facility like that," Taylor said.

Osborne graduated from Georgetown College. He started his career in education at Falmouth, Gallatin County, Pine Knot and Williamstown. He later taught in Harlan and Bell counties. He served as the elementary school principal in Woodford County and the superintendent in Lynch and in Marion County (from 1982 to 1994).

Judy Bickett was Osborne's administrative assistant throughout his time in Marion County.

She also noted that he had the idea to build a fitness center at the high school, and she called him one of the most intelligent people she's known.

"He was always thinking about three sentences ahead of you," Bickett said.

She described Osborne as caring and compassionate toward the kids and toward the employees of the board of education.

"I enjoyed the 12 years I worked with him," Bickett said.

A full obituary appears on page A4.