Judith Osborne is best known for being the wife of Sonny Osborne, an American bluegrass musician and banjo player. He was one half of the Osborne Brothers musical duo, with his brother Bobby Osborne. He is being reported to have passed away from a stroke on October 24, 2021, at the age of 83.
Judith Osborne & Sonny Osborne
Sonny and Judith were married in 1958 until his death in 2021. The couple were married for 63 years. At the time of their marriage, they were of tender age with Sonny being 20 years old. Judith and Sonny have two children, Steven Osborne and Karen Osborne.
Osborne was born in Roark, Kentucky in October 1937, before moving to Hyden, Kentucky where he was raised. He began playing the banjo at the age of eleven when his father bought him one. With a little help from Larry Richardson, he soon found out how to play.
His brother, Bobby, worked with the Lonesome Pine Fiddlers and Sonny had a chance to join in with them during jam sessions. Bobby enlisted in the Marine Corps., and Sonny went on to work with Bill Monroe’s Blue Grass Boys for a couple of months between June and September 1952.
Sonny Osborne Death & Cause
He died from a stroke on October 24, 2021, at the age of 83.
David Crow wrote in a tribute,
“My heart is heavy saying goodbye to such a good friend and mentor. Sonny Osborne was both. He hired an 18-year-old kid with a dream of playing the fiddle and allowed me to chase my dream while being part of one of the most amazing bands that has ever been assembled (not that my part was amazing, by Terry Smith, Terry Eldredge, Gene Wooten, Bobby Osborne, and Sonny Osborne all in their prime was a thing to behold).
There was so much more to Sonny that you could only experience on the inside. He was a music publisher, industry leader, and founder of IBMA, a teacher (wrote one of the first instruction books on the banjo), a banjo builder, and a true friend. And then there was his singing and playing. How many people read autobiographies of Harry Truman and Dennis Rodman at the same time? After Raymond Huffmaster retired, Sony drove the night shift. We usually left the venue around midnight and I would ride shotgun with Sonny until the sun came up. We figured out most of the world’s problems overnight.
Those who have played the fiddle for the Osborne Brothers (Glen Duncan, Steve Thomas, Blaine Sprouse, Jimmy Mattingly, Derek Deakins, Jeremy Garrett) will understand that there is nothing better in the world than playing a fiddle tune like Sally Gooden or Pretty Little Indian and having Sonny smile, turn in your direction and point the best Gibson Granada in the world at your head at a distance of about three feet away (which in my mind is the perfect distance for the tone of a banjo to come together) and drop the thumb. His vocal part on “Nearer My God to Thee” is the gold standard. After Sonny retired, he assumed the role of elder statesman of the bluegrass community. Convening lunches at Mac Wiseman’s house, Shoney’s, and the Old Country Buffet where all who loved and appreciated the founders and history of bluegrass were welcomed and embraced. It is hard to overstate the impact Sonny had on my life and I am grateful for the friendship and memories I have with the Chief.”