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Obituaries

Walter Wyatt Osborne

SoVaNow.com / February 08, 2018

Walter Wyatt Osborne died Tuesday, Jan. 30, 2018 at Kindred hospital in West Palm Beach, Fla., at the age of 92.

He was born on Halifax County on Oct. 31, 1925 to the late Maggie Anderson Osborne and the late Garnett Elmer Osborne.

He was a World War II veteran. He lied about his age to enter the war at the age of 17. He fought in Italy and Germany where he learned to speak German. He and his friends saved priceless antique weapons from a museum from being dumped into the river at the end of the war.

After graduating from Halifax High School, he earned Bachelors Degree and Masters Degree from Virginia Tech University and a doctorate of Philosophy from Rutgers University in New Jersey.

The chief aim of his career was to benefit the farmers of Virginia. His first job in this regard was as a tobacco specialist in Mecklenburg and Brunswick counties with the Agricultural Extension Service. From there he became professor of plant pathology at Virginia Tech where he conducted research on tobacco diseases and nematology. He reported on his research at international meetings in 32 different countries as well as in the USA.

Dr. Osborne discovered the Osborne cyst nematode and developed measures to control it. He also developed a centrafuge system that cut time from, 2 days to 10 minutes to extract nematodes from the soil for identification and control. He was the author of 224 research papers on various crop diseases and control in Virginia.

He raised grant money to build the first mobile lab in Virginia. It enabled Virginia farmers to get an immediate diagnosis and start treatment plans much sooner in order to save their crops.

While attending meetings in South America he was given the Man of the Year Award by the government of Columbia for his work on bananas.

Survivors include his wife Flora Drewry Osborne of South Boston; his son, Walter Wyatt Osborne Jr. and wife Wendy Ford Osborne of Lawrenceville, Ga., three daughters Bethell Anne Osborne and husband Steven Wilson and daughter Abigail Wilson of Dallas, Alease Fisher Tallman and husband Paul A. Tallman of Greenwich, Conn., Anders Osborne Haines of Dallas. There are five grandsons: Peter Coleman Gonzalez and wife Erin Laney Gonzalez and their son Peter Wayland Wyatt Gonzalez of Dallas, Andrew Scott Fisher, Jackson Wyatt Fisher, Henry Coleman Fisher of Salt Lake City, Utah, Wayne Penn Fisher of Dallas; a sister, Alease Osborne Baxter of Newport News; nephew, Alex Baxter Jr. and wife Lori Baxter of Smithfield; niece, Carolyn Baxter Baugher and husband C.B. Baugher of Rescue; nephew, Garnett Elmer Osborne III and wife Suzanne Rogers Osborne of Chester; niece, Caroline Osborne Grove and husband James Grove of Beaverdam; cousin Frances Towles Faris of Fort Myers, Fla., many great nieces and nephews and cousins whom he loved.

The funeral will be held Saturday, Feb. 10, at 2 p.m. at Trinity Episcopal Church in South Boston. The internment will follow at Oak Ridge Cemetery.

The family will receive friends at Powell Funeral Home Friday, Feb. 9, from 6-8 p.m. and at other times at the home of the deceased.

Friends and family are invited to a reception at his home following the interment to celebrate his life.

For memorials, please consider Trinity Episcopal Church on Yancey Street in South Boston, or a charity of your choice.

Arrangements are by Powell Funeral Home.

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