Edward L. Osborn (Superintendent)

Edward L. Osborn (Superintendent)

Former Batavia School Superintendent Dies at 84

Osborn remembered for
straight-forward style
By Marilyn Pfalzer, Batavia Dally News Staff Writer 
October 20th, 1993

Edward L. Osborn, 84, of Delmar, a former Batavia School District superintendent and executive secretary emeritus of the state Council of School District Administrators, died Oct. 13 at home after a lengthy illness. Former Assemblyman R. Stephen Hawley was on the Batavia Board of Education during Mr. Osborn’s tenure. “Ed was always a very straight-forward administrator," Mr. Hawley said. "He always knew how be wanted the schools to run, and I don’t think there was any doubt in the staff's mind about his ideas. He was very traditional. I enjoyed working with him."

A son of Mr. and Mrs. John Osborn, he was born in Albany Aug. 12, 1909. He was a graduate of Milne High School and the former State Teachers College at Albany. He taught science in Hudson Falls where he was high school principal from 1938 until 1945 when he came to Batavia.

Mr. Osborn served as Batavia High School principal until 1951, when he was named superintendent of schools. He served as district superintendent until 1968 when he was named first executive secretary of the State Council of School District Administrators at Albany. He and his wife, the late Sarah Wilson Osborn, moved to Delmar after he received the appointment and remained there following his retirement.

A major reorganization of the Batavia school system, including construction of John Kennedy and Batavia High schools and the enlargement of Jackson and Robert Morris schools, was accomplished during his tenure and placed all pupils in modern buildings.

The small group of junior high school pupils housed at Jackson School preceding reorganization was consolidated with those in the Middle School and four deteriorated school buildings were eliminated. Before demolition occurred, one of the four, Pringle School, was used in a massive training program for GTE Sylvania employees prior to the plant's opening. The final step in modernizing the school system was conversion of the former Washington School to an administration building.          

Mr. Osborn was one of several school superintendents who proposed the merger of smaller state groups of school administrators to form the New York State Council of School District Administrators, a single state-wide organization of chief school officers. The plan was approved in 1967 and Mr. Osborn was  named to serve as executive secretary and opened an office at Albany. In his new position, he coordinated the activities of administrator and provided liaison with the State Education Department, the Federal Office of Education, the  American Association of School Administrators and the New York State Legislature. He earned the council's "Distinguished Services" award and was designated executive secretary emeritus when he retired in 1972.

Ellen Ruffino of Batavia, a retired teacher, said, "He was a tremendous administrator, always approachable. He always knew what was coming down the pike, so he could alert us, and he ran his office with one secretary."

Another retired teacher, Mary McCulley Henry, stayed in touch with the family through the years. "He was a very fair, stable, forward looking person. He approached things with thought and some very nice things happened while he was here."

A participant in numerous community and educational activities, Mr. Osborn served as Batavia Rotary Club president in 1961-62; was an adviser to registrants of Local Board 78 Selective Service, a member of Batavia Chamber of Commerce, Genesee Industrial Development Corporation, Holland Purchase Society and the Landmark Society,,              

He was an elder in the Batavia First Presbyterian Church, and an honorary member of the New York State Congress of Parents and Teachers, and became an honorary member of the Rotary Club when he left Batavia for Albany.

During his retirement at Delmar, he served as councillor of the 1931 Class of the University at Albany, chairman of its Alumni Council, national chairman of the annual fund of the university and a member of the Alumni Association Board of Directors.

He was named a "Distinguished Alumnus" in 1969, received the "Distinguished Service" medal in 1987 and won the "Excellence in Alumni Service" award for long-standing service to the Alumni Association and the university in June 1993.

Survivors include two daughters, Elaine Osborn of Denver, Colo., and Harriet Martin of Birmingham, England; two nieces, Ruth Wright of Wellesley Hills, Mass., and Joan Yaguda of Delmar; a nephew, Elbridge W. Grover of New London, N.H.; five grandchildren and a great-grandchild.

A memorial service will be conducted at 2 p.m. Sunday at the Alumni House, University Drive West, of the University at Albany.

The family suggests memorials to the Nature Conservancy-Eastern New York Chapter, 251 River St., Troy, 12180; the University at Albany Foundation for its "Endowment for Excellence" or the Charles C. Adams and Harriet Dyer Adams Biodiversity, Conservation and Public Policy Fund, both at the University at Albany, Administration 231,1400 Washington Ave., Albany, 12222.


Clipping provided by Harriet Osborn Martin (BHS '61):