Jacksonville Business Leader Prime Osborn Dies
Jan. 06, 1986
JACKSONVILLE, Fla. (AP) _ Prime Francis Osborn III, the former chairman and chief executive officer of CSX Corp. and a long-time civic leader, has died at his home near here. He was 70.
Osborn, who died Saturday, came to Jacksonville 25 years ago with the Atlantic Coast Line railroad when it moved its general offices here. He is considered the architect of the merger of the Seaboard Air Line Railroad and the Atlantic Coast Line in 1967.
As head of the CSX Corp. he was in charge of the holding company for two of the largest railroads in America - Chessie Railroad System and Seaboard System Railroad.
In addition to his business accomplishments, Osborn spent much of his time focusing on the needs of the poor and the young.
During his life, Osborn is credited with raising $27.3 million for Salvation Army causes and was the recipient of the agency's William Booth Award.
He also served as president of the North Florida Council of the Boy Scouts of America from 1962-66, and chairman of Scouting Region Six from 1965-69.
''Prime Osborn was an exceptional man,'' said William S. Morris III, chairman and chief executive officer of Morris Communications Corp., which owns Florida Publishing Co. and publishes the Florida Times-Union and Jacksonville Journal.
''He possessed a rare blend of qualities that made him unique,'' Morris said. ''His interest in and love for Jacksonville was the epitome of community leadership. Very few towns have a Prime Osborn.''
Osborn graduated from the University of Alabama with a doctorate in law in 1939 and served as an assistant attorney general of Alabama for two years.
During World War II, Mr. Osborn served in the U.S. Army in Hawaii, Guam, Saipan and Iwo Jima. By the end of the war, he had risen to the rank of lieutenant colonel and had been awarded the Bronze Star.
Survivors include his wife, Grace Hambrick Osborn of Jacksonville; a son, Cmdr. Prime Francis Osborn IV of New Orleans; a daughter, Mary Anne Osborn of Cambridge, Mass.; a sister, Mrs. Clay (Elizabeth) Stinnett of Demopolis, Ala.