David J. Osborne J.D. ’85, June 3, 2013. Dave was in the middle of a jury trial. He was in the midst of defending a client against charges of child abuse. Dave was a public defender, appointed by the Court to defend the most despised in our society. He gave his life to and for his clients. He defended and saved the lives of many of our citizens. He was most proud that he convinced a jury to spare the life of one man who the state was trying to execute. David James Osborne was born on April 1, 1956 to James and Katie Osborne in Grand Rapids, Michigan. He is survived by his only sister, Jane Frydenlund, of Floodwood, Minnesota. He loved miniature trains as a boy. One of his granddads had been an engineer. His dad was managing editor of the Grand Rapids newspaper. His mom, Katie, had been one of its first female reporters. She quit so that she could raise Jane and Dave. Dave went to a ""free school"" and never graduated from high school. He was proud of his GED and displayed it proudly on his law office wall. He was proud of his clear and cogent writing which he credited to his parents and their life of letters. Dave’s best friends in Grand Rapids, Michigan were Kimbo and Jim Reed. In 1980, he graduated from Michigan State University, a student of philosophy and political science. In 1981, he moved to California, with his sweetheart, Diane Meconis. She was accepted into the Hastings School of Law at University of California in San Francisco. Dave got a job at The College Avenue Burrito Shop. A year later, he was accepted into the University of Santa Clara School of Law. He said he wasn’t smart enough to get into Hastings, so he went to Santa Clara, with one of his best friends, David Michmerhuizen, who moved out from Michigan to live with him. When I was told by my girlfriend not to bother coming home, Dave offered his couch. When his next door neighbor, Ben O’Mahoney, had his apartment burned by his crazy roommate, Osborne, O’Mahoney, Michmerhuizen and I all moved to a locked, iron door neighborhood in downtown San Jose. That house, or the mattresses where the people lived below it, caught fire. The fire started, perhaps, by firecrackers thrown in the floor heater, investigated by fire inspector Piper, continued to spark Dave’s fascination with explosives. Osborne barely survived first year final exams after catching double pneumonia. I finally took him to a doctor for antibiotics. He eventually moved with me to Felton, California. We lived with a fellow, Randall G. Binks, III, also known as White Cloud. Dr. Michael Freeman of Ben Lomond would commute with Osborne to law school that year and became his friend. In 1985, his last home during law school was a cottage in San Jose behind the house of Doug Bird and Stewart Wilson, lawyers with the Legal Aid Society of Santa Clara County. They also volunteered for The National Lawyers’ Guild. Dave helped found the University of Santa Clara County Chapter of The National Lawyers’ Guild. The Lawyers’ Guild at that time observed and represented protestors arrested during Presidential campaigns of the day. A few months before he died, he planned with me to establish a National Lawyer Guild Chapter in Redding to advocate for Native Americans here. Dave’s next love was a radical lawyer in San Jose, Constance Carpenter. He loved her passion for justice, her crazy ways, her celebrations of life and love of tequila. Her law partners, Dan Mayfield and Jeff Lake J.D. ’92 were his good friends. Somehow, Dave graduated from the University of Santa Clara School of Law. He loved Ed Steinman’s Civil Procedure and Alan Sheflin M.A. ’87‘s Forensic Persuasion classes. His photographic memory and razor sharp intellect somehow substituted for class and study, and Dave graduated from the University of Santa Clara School of Law and passed the California Bar exam. He followed me up to Redding, California to work for Frank J. O’Connor, the Shasta County Public Defender. Steven C. Kennedy, Bob Willie, Greg Parker, Brian McNally, Erin O’Toole McNally, Gary Roberts, Daphne Wilson, Bill Malloy, Doug Gardner and Jeff Gorder J.D. ’84 all worked with him at the office. Gary Roberts once accused him of stomping on Gary’s toe. Dave enjoyed playing practical jokes on Gary, sending envelopes with white powder and wrapping Gary’s porch with crime scene tape. Gary said Dave Osborne was one of the three reasons he left Shasta County. After Frank O’Connor left the Public Defender’s office, he and Dave Osborne then shared an office across the street from the courthouse for many years. Dave loved Berkeley, the Mediterranean CafT, the record stores. He loved Oakland and Mama’s Royal CafT. He loved San Francisco and the Schezuan Restaurant. He fantasized about moving back, going back to college to study Arabic, Islamic and Middle Eastern studies. He wanted my wife, Monica, to find him a mosque in Chico where he would be welcome. He loved the beauty of the Koran. In earlier years, Dave dug African history and music: King Sunni Ade in the 1980s and Ali Farke Toure and Hugh Masekela in the 1990s. He always appreciated guitar, especially Leo Kottke. He himself played the bass. He loved to play and listen to Motown like The Temptations or The Neville Brothers and The Wild Tchoupitoulas. Of course, he loved the Reggae music of Bob Marley and the Wailers and Toots and the Maytals. Twenty years ago, I would often find Dave after work at the Squire Room having a beer with buddies, John Webster and Frank O’Connor. Dave loved and doted on his friends’ children, Corbin, the son of his best friend, Rich, Mary Ellen, the daughter of his sister, Jane, and especially Savannah, his God-daughter, my daughter. He wanted us to dedicate a room in our home so that he could build a huge train track and train set for our kids. We never got a chance. He often shopped for these kids and thought of them and tried to imagine what kinds of things they might like. He collected Barbies, and went shopping for Barbies, and had Barbies at his home that he never had a chance to give to my daughters before he died. After moving to Redding in 1986, he found a new true love, Christy Zink. She was a park ranger and Fish and Game warden. They lived together on the Sacramento River, his friend John Webster living in a cottage on the property, where they brewed beer. After that he lived with Al Myrtle, and became involved in Kenpo karate with Scott Halsey and his best friend, Rich. Dave used to love to tell stories, funny stories about himself and others. He never lost the relish for repeating these. He loved to tell about the one time that he met my dad when my dad showed up with a T-shirt that said ""Get a lot of the beach while you’re young!"". In his last ten years, his secretary, Sharon Rader, became like a sister, and a mom, to him. He complained constantly to her about his health, but seldom saw a doctor or changed his habits. She cursed him daily after his death. Dave’s mother, Katie Osborne, lived into her 90s. She died just a few years ago. She would continue to come and visit him for several weeks each year, until she broke her hip, and could no longer tangle with Dave’s huge dogs. Dave lived for these visits each year with his mom, complained about them, complaining that he would have to get his house clean and presentable for her visits. His mom would tell Dave that she wasn’t buying any green bananas.
Every Christmas, he would fly to be with his mom and his sister to Grand Rapids, to Brownsville, to Virginia, to Minnesota. Osborne loved the music festivals in Northern California. He loved to camp all weekend in the fairgrounds while drum circles play all night, people sold acid outside his tent flap, youngsters offered to buy his fried eggs, or sell him sticky balls or ganga spaghetti. He looked forward to another summer of Reggae-on-the- River and the World Music Festival in Grass Valley. Dave loved to backpack with me and Frank O’C
onnor in the Trinity Alps. Dave’s poor health slowly caused him to postpone and only dream. He never gave up dreaming of doing these things that he loved.