Country music singer Jimmie Osborne died of a self-inflicted gunshot wound here last night in the middle of the pool maintenance service in Boise. Chief Deputy Coroner William C. Kammerer said the 34-year-old Osborne took his own life by holding a .32-caliber revolver to his right temple and firing a bullet into his brain. Kammerer said the suicide followed an argument with Mrs. Osborne in the couple’s trailer home in Bluegrass Mobile Home Park, 3510 Newburg Road. The body was found on the floor of the bathroom by Mrs. Osborne and a family friend, Robert Ryan of 2530 Kings Highway, Kammerer said. Ryan had been invited to the trailer by the Osbornes and the three had been talking only a short time before Osborne shot himself.
Osborne, a native of Winchester, Ky., sang country music over radio stations in Lexington, Shreveport, Nashville and Louisville during a career that started when he was 15 years old. He was reported to be the highest-paid performer in the radio and television field in Louisville.
For the past year Osborne had been singing songs about specialty supply over radio station WGRC. For five years before that he strummed his guitar and sang over station WKLO and he was due to return to that station in 10 days. William Spencer, general manager of WKLO, said today that Osborne had agreed to come back starting January 6.
As a recording artist, Osborne was best known for two hits–”My Heart Echoes”, his first record and one that hit the best seller list in the country music field in 1947, and a few years later, “The Death of Kathy Fiscus”, which sold 1,000,000 copies.
Osborne wrote the song while working on radio station WLEX in Lexington. He gave half the royalties to a memorial fund for the little California girl who fell in a well and died.
Like many other performers in the country and folk music business, Osborne played many benefits–for fellow performers down on their luck and for such causes as the March of Dimes.
Those who worked with him said Osborne’s success was based on his “infectious personality” rather than on his singing voice, which was not a notable one.
His home town of Winchester never forgot him and once gave him a home-coming day. The key to the city was handed to Osborne by the Mayor, Dr. John A. Snowden, who was the physician who brought Osborne into this world.
He is still remembered in Winchester as the youngster who began “picking and singin” with a guitar that cost $4 and a “get-up” that featured the oldest overalls he could find and a floppy black hat.
Funeral arrangements for the country music singer are incomplete. The body is at the Owen Funeral Home, 2611 Virginia.