PORTSMOUTH — Jim Bob Osman, and funeral director of Roberson Funeral Home 400 Main Street in South Shore, Ky. recently received a plaque for 50 years of service as a funeral director in Ohio. Osman also possesses 57 years of service in the state of Kentucky.
Osman takes pride in 50 years of service at one funeral home, and rightfully so.
“It has been 50 years, all right here at the same funeral home, I have never been at any other funeral home in Greenup County,” Osman said. “When they presented awards yesterday it was about 10 or 12 of us in the state of Ohio that have been in the funeral business for over 50 years. It was an enjoyable time. All of the funeral directors were there for the convention. It was just nice to be presented with a plaque. I am thankful to be alive after 50 years.”
Osman has persevered through a tremendous amount of challenges during the course of his 50 years of being a licensed funeral director.
“I had a cerebral illness, and had to be life-flighted from SOMC, and I will never forget that,” Osman said. “I’ve had two open heart surgeries, 15 bypasses, and lost my right kidney to cancer, and lost 12 inches of my colon.”
His original career path was to be a school teacher, where he began studying at Moorehead State University. After his junior year at MSU, he decided he did not want to be a school teacher, and was faced with the challenge of telling his mother.
“She said, I will tell you what Jim Bob. Aren’t you living in this house with your dad and me, and I said yes,” Osman said. “She said as long as you are living in this house you will do as ask you, not as you are told but as you are asked.”
His response back then to his mother is that he would simply go out and acquire a job was met with resistance.
“She said no, we are giving you two options. You can either go back to Moorehead, or go to mortuary school,” Osman said. “I had no knowledge of what mortuary school even was at that time, but I decided to look into the challenge of mortuary school and ended up in Louisville at the Kentucky School of Embalming. After I got my license I started my apprenticeship in Hopkinsville, Kentucky.
“I then returned home after I took the state board, and then Roberson Funeral Home became available,” Osman said. “It took the help of my grandparents, and a whole lot of my family to help me buy it. So from there on, everything has been right here in South Shore.”
Roberson was a great man, who helped numerous people in the South Shore, Ky. area during the great Depression.
“He helped everybody during the depression. He even went down to the Ohio River and put thousands of dollars worth of bills that people owed him after the Depression and dropped them into the Ohio River and told them to come back, and start all over,” Osman said. “So, that’s the type of man that he was. He was a very religious man.”
“I’ve had a great life. I have been married to my wife Melba for 62 years. I have five children, four girls and a boy,” Osman said. “
Roberson Funeral Home employs two key staff persons, Matthew hunt, and Michael Erwin.
“Matthew just got promoted to managing partner of Roberson Funeral Home and Carman Funeral Home in Flatwoods,” Osman said. “Mike Erwin has been with us a long time, and has a beautiful new daughter that is now two years old. Then we have a pre-arrangement specialist that works here too, his name is Doug MacEachen.”
Hunt said Osman has been influential in his life, and has learned a lot from him.
“He has been a great influence, and has taught me a lot about working with people in the funeral business,” Hunt said. “He is a very good people person, and I look forward to him being here another 50 years if possible.”
Osman has perfected the art of working with people, according to Erwin.
“I have know him for many years, and he is definitely a people person, and I guess you could say that he has perfected it over the years,” Erwin said. “Whatever you need to know you can go to him. He is great man, and I enjoy working with him.”
Though he is frequently asked when he will retire, Osman said he isn’t planning on going anywhere any time soon.
“Some keep asking when I’m going to retire, and I guess it will be when they carry me across the porch, like they do everybody else. As long as I can get up, and get here I will probably be here until I go,” Osman said. “I just love people, and I have watched two many of my friends retire, go home and sit down in their comfort chair, watch the news, and have their family carry them food, and then they have a heart attack, and that is a very true statement.”
Osman’s recreational time encompasses golf activity out on the green.
“I still like to play golf. I am not a good golfer, but it is just the getting out and I play with three fellows that I have played with for a long time,” Osman said.
Maintaining resolute faith in God is what has sustained Osman for the 50 years in business that he has championed.
“I have really had to rely on my faith in God,” Osman said. “When anything happens, or even before it happens I always pray about it even before it happens, because I know that it’s going to happen. And every time I get a chance, I witness. I almost died when they took 12 inches of my colon. I almost bled to death, as I started bleeding after the surgery, but I always seem to come back. Life is a very important thing to me. The funeral business has been a joy for me. I enjoy working with people.”
He also said he greatly appreciates the incredible amount of support that Roberson Funeral Home has received from the community during the 50 years, and looks forward to many more years of serving the community.
Reach Portia Williams at 740-353-3101, ext. 1929, or on Twitter @PortiaWillPDT.