story of the Osborn’s service to their community started long before they were
in the funeral business. This beginning of this family’s journey dates back in
England, where Thomas Osborn (grandfather to Joan and Diane) became quite the renowned
shoe maker. It was during the iconic Gold Rush, that word of his exquisite shoe
making got around and he was contacted by a fellow to come to Dawson city, in
the Yukon, and make shoes for all the miners. It was his decision then to say
yes, and travel by boat, train and walked for days to make a name for himself
and his family. After the Gold Rush subsided, Thomas made his way down the
coast to Vancouver, where he convinced his long time love Emily Green, to move
from England to be his wife.
wed, Emily blessed Thomas with 2 little mouths to feed, son Leslie and daughter
Irene. In 1932, they moved their growing family and business to the rural
community of Haney, where Thomas bought property on 224th (then 8th
avenue) and he opened Osborn’s Shoe Store.
(Les) grew up in the shoe business, often in the shop alongside his father,
helping and learning the tricks of the trade, and took over the family business
in 1952. Les always had a passion for serving his community, something that he
came by honestly.
of his trips home during his service in the Army in November, 1943, Les met and
fell head over heels for a quiet, shy Albertan girl at a dance in Vancouver. Les
and Eileen were married February 18th 1944, and started a family of
their own. They were proud parents to their three daughters; Joan, Diane and
when the girls were young, and Les was ready to retire, that he had a dream to
have the privilege and honour in helping the great people of the city through
one of the most difficult journeys of their lives.
in 1964, and with the help of his wife Eileen, who had connections from being
an organist and soloist at another funeral home, his friends and community, that
Les sold the lot of land on 224th along with the shoe company, and
opened Osborn’s, Maple Ridge Funeral Chapel.
The first couple years of were especially
tough, where Les and Eileen had second jobs to support their young children and
growing business. Les worked as a truck driver and Eileen as a housekeeper with
her long time piano lessons career on the side. They eventually built an
addition to the funeral chapel as their home, so they could attend to the
funeral chapel day or night when needed. The Osborn’s lived there and established
the company for many years.
Les and Eileen retired in 1988, when two of
their daughters Diane Mackenzie and Joan Gibson agreed to continue the Osborn
tradition of dedicated service.