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Published: Saturday, 1/30/2010

Marketing ace a master of designing

Glenn Osborn, 66, whose digital photo collage in the style of a 17th-century painting was named Best of Show at the 2007 Toledo Area Artists' Exhibition, died Sunday in Hospice of Northwest Ohio, Perrysburg Township, of cancer.

The collage, Homage to de Heem, featured flowers and fruit in vivid colors against black, a tribute to the Dutch still-life master De Heem. That year's exhibition drew 655 entries, 107 of which were displayed.

"It was an experience of a lifetime to have that kind of recognition," said Joan Osborn Van Gunten, a friend of 40 years and a former wife.

He had three art openings in 2009, though he was ill.

"He needed to still create," Mrs. Van Gunten said.

His career melded writing, design, and marketing. After hours, he sought to express himself by "creating his own art through photography," Mrs. Van Gunten said. "He started by photographing flowers in my perennial garden."

His collages came from thousands of flower photos, many of which he took at the 577 Foundation in Perrysburg.

Mr. Osborn, of Perrysburg, was creative director at Midwest Tape, a Holland-based audio book distributor. From the late 1960s into the 1980s, he worked in marketing and communications for Owens Corning. He then formed his own firm. His clients included Owens Corning.

"He was basically a writer and continued to incorporate his writing and his design skills in creating marketable material for businesses in town and elsewhere," Mrs. Van Gunten said.

He created an online community of writers, "Scrawl: The Writer's Asylum." He played guitar and was a lover of jazz and blues. A favorite was New Orleans pianist Professor Longhair, but No. 1 in Mr. Osborn's pantheon was trumpeter Miles Davis.

"His CD collection was phenomenal," Mrs. Van Gunten said. "He passed on that love of art and reading and music to his children."

Born Jan. 28, 1943, in Circleville, Ohio, he was the son of Jane and Pharo Osborn and grew up in Johnstown, Ohio. He had a bachelor of business administration degree from Ohio State University.

In addition to Mrs. Van Gunten, he was formerly married to Paula Thompson and the late Barbara Gager.

Surviving are his sons, Michael and Mark Osborn; daughters, Sarah and Laura Osborn, and sisters, Sharon Cameron and Carolyn Orchid.

Services will be private.

The family suggests tributes to Hospice of Northwest Ohio.

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