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Jones Osborn

1921 - 2014 Obituary Condolences
Jones Osborn Obituary
Former state senator Jones Osborn, who represented Yuma and La Paz Counties in the Arizona legislature for 20 years, died Thursday, November 6, 2014 at home in Yuma, AZ. He was 93.

Osborn, who was born October 22, 1921 in southern Indiana, came to Yuma with his parents who, along with F.F. McNaughton, had purchased the two daily Yuma newspapers in 1935. Working after school and weekends, he learned the printing trade.

While a student at the University of Arizona. Osborn earned a commission as a second lieutenant in the U.S. Army. Shortly after Pearl Harbor was attacked, he volunteered for active duty. His regiment fought in New Guinea, the Dutch East Indies and the Philippines. He was released from active duty as a captain, having earned the Combat Infantryman Badge and two bronze stars.

While in the Senate, Osborn was responsible for four landmark pieces of legislation. In 1983, he created the Residential Users' Consumer Office (RUCO) which gave residential utility users an effective voice in rate-setting. He was author of the law in 1989 which created the Adult Intensive Probation program. This gave judges the option of sending first-time, non-violent offenders to intensive probation, rather than to prison, saving the state millions of dollars.

Osborn was also the author of the "Sunset Law," which brings all state agencies, boards, and commissions under the scrutiny of a periodic performance audit. Those which fail to pass the audit are "sunsetted."

In 1989, he created the Arizona Juvenile Department of Corrections.

He was appointed in 1993 by Chief Justice Stanley Feldman of the Arizona Supreme Court to the Arizona Judicial Commission, a non-salaried service which set policy for the Arizona integrated court system. He served 16 years.

In 1976, he was appointed by Gov. Raul Castro to the Western Interstate Commission for Higher Education (WICHE), a consortium of western states which advances the exchange of post-graduate students at lower costs. He served 14 years and was chairman in 1990.

Under his editorship, The Sun, campaigned successfully for two major changes to local governments. In county government the paper brought to a public vote an increase in county supervisors from three to five as an antidote to cronyism. The new five-member board was seated in 1981.

The Sun took the lead in 1970 to replace the old mayor-council form of city government in favor of the more modern and efficient council-manager form as being better able to deal with rapid population growth. The Council-manager government prevails to this day.

The Sun also helped to bring to a public vote in 1960 a measure to purchase the water system by the city, bringing about a drop in water rates and much-needed modernization of the systems.

Osborn was inducted into the Arizona Wildcat Hall of Fame in 2006 in recognition of his professional achievements. He served as Sports Editor of the college yearbook and the newspaper at University of Arizona.

Osborn is survived by his wife of 24 years, Brigida Medina Osborn; sons, Jones II of Phoenix, AZ and Duncan of Mesquite, NV; daughter, Kathleen McKean (Sandy) of Seattle, WA and Heather Stilley (Thomas) of Portland, OR; stepson, James Conway (Irene) of Studio City, CA; and 6 grandchildren.

Services were held on Wednesday, November 12, 2014 at Johnson Mortuary, 1415 S. 1st Avenue, Yuma.
Published in The Yuma Sun on Nov. 9, 2014
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