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Remembering Jennings Osborne

Those close to Jennings Osborne are sharing memories of the man who touched so many in the community.
LITTLE ROCK, AR - Those close to Jennings Osborne are sharing memories of the man who touched so many in the community.

Friends and family describe Osborne as a man with a loving heart whose nature was to give freely and selflessly. Osborne helped those in the community by reaching out to several charity organizations, law enforcement, and the fire department. Those close to him say, he put others needs first.

A well known philanthropist, and lover of holiday lights, Osborne invited everyone to share barbeque dinners with him. Osborne's heart finally gave out to a heart-related illness. His long time friend and attorney, Bud Whetstone, says Osborne's generosity is what he'll remember most. "A lot of people feel it, and Jennings felt it, and then he did something about it. He acted on it, and that's what set him apart."

Many of Osborne's admirers say he stepped up to help out whenever and where ever he could. Whetstone says his life was an exciting adventure for those lucky enough to be around him and be part of the ride. "I used to call it the Osborne reality show. When you were with him, he'd call and ask if you wanted to go somewhere and do something. We'd get sky box tickets in Fayetteville. We went to almost every football game with him."

Osborne is described as a hard working, self-made man who didn't want anyone to know he was ill. Whetstone says his death is a huge loss to the community, and there will never be anyone else like him. "Jennings touched people, and I think they'll find a way to remember him."

Osborne leaves behind his wife Mitzi and daughter Breezy. Breezy put out this statement saying: "My father was an amazing man who all my life showed what a big heart he had for everyone, young and old, regardless of background or wealth. Sadly my father's big heart finally gave out, but knowing my "Dadoo", there will be fireworks at the gates of heaven."

Bryant Morris has been an employee with the Osborne family for the last 16 years. He says it's been a blessing in his life. Morris stopped by the family home on Cantrell Road Wednesday afternoon to drop off some things. His job is to take care of anything Jennings Osborne needed.

Morris says Osborne gave to everyone he knew, anyway he could, and when he did something, he did it big. "His famous words were there are not enough lights. We always added more lights."

Jack Soden, CEO of Elvis Presley Enterprises says Osborne even helped the home of Elvis Presley celebrate Christmas. "He just loved being generous and he loved Christmas, Christmas lights and ultimately, gave us half a million dollars worth of Christmas decorations and turned the place into a wonderland."

Many people have a million stories about Jennings Osborne, but Bryant Morris says his favorite is a conversation the two had about faith. "He said, I'm not worried about getting into heaven, I just hope when I get to heaven, God is not a chicken. There were 500 chickens on the table."
Morris says he hopes heaven is having a barbeque with Osborne right now.
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