Promoted to Glory: Commissioner James Osborne, OF
Commissioner James Osborne was born of Salvation Army parents in Toledo, Ohio, July 3, 1927 and was Promoted to Glory from his home in Clearwater, FL on May 12, 2022. He married Ruth Campbell on November 26, 1945 and was honorably discharged from the United States Army on October 17, 1946. They entered The Salvation Army School for Officer’s Training as part of the Warriors Session and commissioned in June 1947, being appointed to Nashville, TN. From 1948 to 1965, he served in Memphis, TN; Owensboro, KY; Chattanooga, TN; and Miami, FL.
From 1965 to 1980, Commissioner Osborne’s career took him to Salvation Army administrative assignments in five Divisions of the Southern Territory: Divisional Secretary, Kentucky-Tennessee Division; General Secretary, North/South Carolina Division; Territorial Public Relations Secretary; and Divisional Commander in Maryland/Northern West Virginia, National Capital/Virginia and Florida.
In 1980, he was appointed as the Western Territory’s Chief Secretary with headquarters in Rancho Palos Verdes, CA. From January 1984 to October 1986, he was National Chief Secretary. In 1986 he became the Territorial Commander for the USA Southern Territory and was then selected as National Commander, Verona, NJ, in 1989. While National Commander, he relocated the National Headquarters to Alexandria, VA.
Upon his appointment as National Commander, Commissioner Osborne stated: “I do not believe in simply maintaining or rearranging the status quo. I believe that we have not done our best thing yet. I intend by God’s help to make a difference in this appointment.”
Commissioner Osborne has been an articulate spokesman for The Salvation Army and its spiritual principals.
“I believe that the great act and fact of the ages is that God was in Christ, reconciling the world to Himself,” he said. “I believe that every other act of history pales into insignificance when seen in the light of the overwhelming love of God as expressed in Christ Jesus. And I believe that the subsequent birth and burgeoning of The Salvation Army are not in the yesterdays but are rather in the tomorrows. There is work to do and I’m here to do it!”
Throughout his life, Commissioner Osborne has been widely recognized for his leadership skills. He is listed in Who’s Who in Religion and Who’s Who in America. He served on various Salvation Army National Commissions; past chairman of the Commissioners Conference and the Advisory Council to the General. He was elected President of The Salvation Army High Council, responsible for electing a new General in 1993.
Commissioner Osborne attended the International College for Officers in London, England in 1964. He was awarded an honorary Doctor of Public Service Degree by Gordon College in Wenham, Massachusetts in 1991.
He was preceded in in death by his parents, Lt. Colonels Al and Gladys Osborne, and wife Ruth on March 2, 2017.
Commissioner Osborne and Lt. Colonel Shirley Anderson were married on August 11, 2018 in Lake Junaluska, NC. They have shared the last three-plus years enjoying each other and spending time with their loved ones.
Commissioner Osborne is survived by his loving wife, Lt. Colonel Shirley Osborne, daughter Lt. Colonel Connie (Don) Canning, brothers: Ronnie (Ruth) and Harry Osborne, foster daughter Minnie Orsburn, grandchildren: Captain Philip (Elaine) Canning, Stephanie (Victor) Rutledge, six wonderful great-grandchildren: Abigail and Jackson Canning, Caroline, Taylor, Allison and Levi Rutledge, as well as nieces and nephews and a host of friends.
His Celebration of Life Service will be on Friday, May 20, 2022, at The Salvation Army Clearwater Citadel Corps, 1625 N. Belcher Road, Clearwater, FL. Family will receive visitors at 10:00 am, followed by the Celebration of Life Service at 11:00 am.
Committal will follow at Memorial Park in St. Petersburg. In lieu of flowers, contributions can be made to The Salvation Army Clearwater Corps at the above-mentioned address.