Jennings Osborne dead at 67 | Arkansas Blog

Wednesday, July 27, 2011

Jennings Osborne dead at 67

Posted By on Wed, Jul 27, 2011 at 4:09 PM

jennings.JPG
Several sources reporting now that Little Rock businessman and philanthropist Jennings Osborne has died following a long illness.

Osborne suffered a heart attack in August 2010, and had been hospitalized since undergoing heart surgery in April.

More on the jump...

Here's a short bio of Osborne. Though he made his fortune in medical research, Osborne was probably best known for the ostentatious Christmas light displays at his Cantrell Road home, which began in 1986 after his daughter asked him to decorate their home for the holidays. By 1993, the display had grown to include animated figures and over 3 million red lights, which caused bumper to bumper traffic jams. Osborne's neighbors eventually sued and won — a case he tried to appeal all the way to the Supreme Court — forcing Osborne to move his light display elsewhere, including Graceland, Disney World and cities around the state.

After losing the light display at his home, Osborne turned his fortunes to other philanthropic pursuits, including holding huge barbecues for the public and sponsoring annual fireworks displays. A large brass eagle the Osborne family donated to the city stands on President Clinton Avenue, near the entrance to the Clinton Presidential Center.

He is survived by his wife, Mitzi and his daughter, Allison "Breezy" Osborne-Wingfield.


SIDENOTE: Our newsroom remembrances of Jennings bring to mind a story from back in 2004, when the Times published a cover story about Mt. Holly Cemetery. In the story, reporter Leslie Newell Peacock mentioned the fact that Osborne was at the time interested in being laid to rest in the storied burying ground.

As Leslie wrote back then: "Seven years ago, Mount Holly made 60 plots available in previously unplotted land in the northwest corner, 'and they went like gangbusters,' [sexton Steve] Adams said. On Thursday of last week, 17 plots remained. On Friday, Adams sold seven of them, five to one buyer alone. There were rumors last fall that Little Rock Christmas light czar Jennings Osborne was considering buying some plots in Mount Holly. Some folks blew a fuse, fearing an eternal electric light show at the venerable cemetery, and wrote the board to that effect. As it turned out, he did consider a purchase, but did not buy any plots - there were too few for a mausoleum - and Worthen, whose board never met with Osborne, was a little put off by the reaction to the rumors. Mount Holly welcomes all comers."

Tags: , , , , ,

From the ArkTimes store

Favorite

Comments (11)

Showing 1-11 of 11

Add a comment

 
Subscribe to this thread:
Showing 1-11 of 11

Add a comment

More by David Koon

  • Thorn in the LRPD's side

    Civil rights attorney Mike Laux has spent years taking on the LRPD over fatal shootings of suspects. He isn't done yet.
    • Oct 12, 2017
  • Griffen files federal civil rights lawsuit over Good Friday vigil punishment

    Calling what happened to the product of "a lynch mob mentality" and the result of a weekend of conspiratorial conversations between members of the Arkansas State Supreme Court, firebrand Pulaski County Circuit Judge Wendell Griffen held a press conference today to announce the filing of a federal civil rights lawsuit over being stripped of his ability to hear cases related to the death penalty, following a Good Friday vigil in which Griffen lay on a cot in front of the Governor's mansion.
    • Oct 5, 2017
  • Bryant homeowners sue the city after repeated flooding

    Also, blames development in which state treasurer is an investor.
    • Oct 5, 2017
  • More »

Readers also liked…

  • LR speakers blast state board for double standard

    A series of speakers, beginning with Sen. Joyce Elliott, denounced what they saw as a hidden agenda favoring charter schools at the state Department of Education and asked the state Board of Education for return of local control.
    • May 12, 2016
  • Rep. Mary Bentley's website now supports gay rights

    Somebody has cybersquatted on Republican Rep. Mary Bentley's website, replacing her messaging with a call for equal rights for LGBTQ people.
    • Jul 18, 2017
  • Saturday's open line

    Got any thoughts? Put them here.
    • May 21, 2016

Most Shared

Most Recent Comments

  • Re: Tuesday: Open line, news roundup

    • As I remember and I could be misremembering, that the ICE raids usually took place…

    • on October 17, 2017
  • Re: Tuesday: Open line, news roundup

    • OMG--could he be any more insensitive? Trump told soldier's widow 'he knew what he signed…

    • on October 17, 2017
  • Re: The Medicaid charade explained

    • How I Got My Desired Loan Amount From A Reliable Loan Company. My name is…

    • on October 17, 2017

Blogroll

 

© 2017 Arkansas Times | 201 East Markham, Suite 200, Little Rock, AR 72201
Powered by Foundation