Ralph Dodd Osborne, III, of Puerto Vallarta, Mexico, passed away after brief complications with the coronavirus. His parents were Ralph Dodd Osborne, Jr., and Ann Lea Osborne, of Llewellyn
Park, New Jersey. Born with severe asthma, he left for school in Arizona at age nine in hopes that the dry air would fortify his lungs. By his senior year at the Southern Arizona School, he was elected president of the student body and was captain of the top polo team in the state. After graduation, he tried out for the three-day U.S. Olympic Equestrian Team and missed by one place.
After graduating from college in Arizona, he returned to the East Coast and alternated between living in New York City and New Jersey over the next forty years. He joined the family business, C.S. Osborne, originally a harness industry manufacturer that was started in 1826. Ralph, in collaboration with his father, expanded the business and developed close relationships with associates at home and abroad.
As president of the company after his father retired, Ralph was known for his kindness and empathy, and he frequently extended help to employees navigating difficult personal situations. Through the International Institute of New Jersey, of which he served as president in the 1990s, Ralph hired and supported many refugees looking to start life anew in America. Ralph also served on the board of Rosedale Cemetery in NJ, from 1971 to 2006, and was an active member of Newark’s Essex Club and the Union Club in New York City. As an enthusiast of the arts, he also backed off-Broadway plays. In New Jersey, he lived near his sister, Lea Angell, and became the beloved “seventh member” of Lea’s six-person family, developing tight bonds with his brother-in-law and his three nieces and one nephew.
An avid reader of history and biography, Ralph developed a lifelong love of travel, visiting every continent and one hundred fifty countries. Some of his adventures included receiving a machete-haircut in the Bahamas, being caught in a Civil War in Santiago, following Silk Routes from China to the Himalayas, celebrating New Year’s Eve at the true South Pole, and helping a budding entrepreneur start a t-shirt shop in Thailand. His homes were a tribute to his travels, containing unusual artifacts from afar and reflecting his interest in other people and cultures.
Before his full retirement from C.S. Osborne in 2012, Ralph moved to Mismaloya, outside of Puerto Vallarta. This time marked his favorite and happiest years, and the dry air helped minimize his asthma. Here he made dear friends who were drawn to his fun-loving wit, his humor, and his kindness and generosity. He loved to entertain, and his home became a favorite place for his friends to gather. He also helped support young people of promise and furthered their education. No visit to his house in Mexico was complete without an afternoon at the Botanical Gardens, where he was a frequent visitor, a benefactor, and a garden advocate. He was a founding board member of PEACEAnimals of Banderas Bay, and he served on the vestry as assistant treasurer of Christ Church by the Sea, in addition to helping guide the church to a new location.
He leaves behind his sister, Lea Osborne Angell, and her husband, Jack Angell. He was particularly fond of his sister’s children, Jennifer Angell Biloski, her husband, Alan, and three sons; Jackson Angell, and his wife, Kate Jostrand Angell, and their son and two daughters; Jessica Angell Moore and her husband, Sean, and their two children; and his niece, Sarah Angell Jones and her husband, Oakley. He was affectionately known as UR (Uncle Ralph) by his nephew and nieces, and his eight great-nieces and nephews referred to him as “gruncle” (great uncle) and RTU (Ralph the Uncle). In lieu of flowers, please consider a donation to one of Ralph’s favorite organizations:
Banderas Bay Charities (please earmark PEACEAnimals) peaceanimals.org
Christ Church by the Sea www.christchurchbythesea.org
Vallarta Botanical Gardens www.vbgardens.org