CARY, NORTH CAROLINA — Elizabeth Glass Osborne, 92, a long-time resident of Peru, died peacefully on June 3, 2013, at her assisted-living residence in Cary, N.C. She was born May 21, 1921, in Benton Harbor, Mich., to Alpha Rosser Glass and Mary Elizabeth Hooper Glass.
Her father, a sales executive with the Singer Corporation, moved often during her childhood. She lived in New York City and New Rochelle before settling in South Bend, Ind., where she graduated from high school in 1939 and went to work for Indiana Bell, part of the Bell Telephone system, as a customer service representative. It was in South Bend that she married Dan Osborne, a young Army Air Corps pilot, in 1943. The marriage lasted nearly 56 years, until Dan's death in 1999, at the age of 81.
The couple, with their children, moved to the North Country and built a house on Holden Avenue, in Peru, when Dan was stationed at the newly-opened Plattsburgh Air Force Base in 1956. They immediately fell in love with the region's stunning natural beauty and the warmth and friendliness of its people. When Dan was transferred again three years later, they kept the house; returning upon his retirement in 1968. Pete lived there for the next 35 years, leaving reluctantly in 2003, when declining health made living alone impossible. Pete fulfilled the demanding but often little-recognized role of military spouse with characteristic strength, humor and grace. She was a master of logistics, moving a household of three young children and a dog across the country (and on one occasion the sea) by herself during Dan's repeated transfers when he was sent ahead with his unit. During Dan's deployments to Morocco, the Azores, Britain, Germany, Greenland and Labrador, Pete shouldered the responsibilities of both parents and made it look easy.
Pete was recognized for her volunteer work in the Air Force's Family Services Association, which provided support to service families in crisis; a grimly frequent necessity, as casualties mounted during the Vietnam War. Her service reflected a life-long impulse to act in the face of need. She joined the NAACP in the 1940s, when confronted by the brutal reality of Jim Crow in the Georgia of that era, when she stayed in College Park to be near Dan as he recovered from a serious accident
Pete returned to paid employment after Dan's retirement, working for the Peru Central School District; first as library assistant, later as a school secretary. She participated in the successful drive to unionize non-teaching staff and was elected first president of the CSEA Local representing them, a position she held until her retirement.
Pete was a devoted member of Peru's Friends of the Library and a supporter of the Council on the Arts.
She had a great zest for life; loved good food and drink, good books, celebrations of all kinds, music, laughter, children, and dogs. Most of all, she loved Dan.
Pete is survived by her daughter, Susan, and son-in-law, Stephen Reynolds, of Raleigh, N.C.; her daughter, Anne, and son-in-law, Tom McGovern, of Pipersville, Penn.; her son, John, and daughter-in-law, Anne Hocker Osborne, of Monticello, N.Y.; and her grandchildren, Dan McGovern of New York City and Eliza McGovern of New Haven, Conn.
Pete's funeral will be held at 11 a.m. Saturday, Aug. 10, at Trinity Episcopal Church, Plattsburgh, followed by a reception at Anthony's. Her ashes will be scattered at a time and place to be determined by the family.