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Scott G. Winterton, Deseret Morning News
Marie Osmond helps her father, George Osmond, at the 2004 funeral of his wife, Olive.

PROVO — Last August, Nathan Osmond took advantage of the opportunity to video-record his children sitting on their great-grandfather's lap during a special family home evening. For the first time, that same night, he performed the song he had promised his grandfather, George Osmond, he would write for him many years earlier.

"I knew it wouldn't be much longer," Nathan Osmond said. "I had to carry through with my promise."

George Virl Osmond died at his home Tuesday morning. He was 90 years old.

His children, grandchildren and great-grandchildren will remember George Osmond as the Wyoming cowboy, as he called himself. The world, however, will remember him as the head of an entertainment dynasty.

Family spokesman Kevin Sasaki said Mr. Osmond died from natural causes incident to his age. He had not been ill.

"I spoke to Jimmy Osmond and he said his father had a great day yesterday (Monday) and was in good spirits," Sasaki said.

According to family reports, Mr. Osmond's caregivers got him up Tuesday and dressed him for breakfast. He lay back down and died.

The death was first reported by the "Entertainment Tonight" Web site.

Mr. Osmond was born Oct. 13, 1917, in Star Valley, Wyo. A devout member of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, he served two missions for the church with his wife, Olive, in Hawaii and in the United Kingdom. Mr. Osmond was also a veteran of World War II.

Alan Osmond, the eldest of the performing brothers, was contacted by the Deseret Morning News but, overcome with emotion, he referred calls to Sasaki.

"He believed that families are forever eternal and throughout his life instilled that faith in each of his children," Sasaki said on behalf of the family. "He loved his only wife, Olive, intensely. George Osmond lived his life true to his faith and true to his family."

Nathan Osmond, Alan's son, shared his feelings about his grandfather in an exclusive interview Tuesday with the Deseret Morning News.

"My middle name is George after my grandfather," he said. "I saw him not too long ago. He was planning on going out to the Oprah show with us."

His grandfather was always a great supporter of the entire Osmond clan, Nathan Osmond said.

"When I heard the news I was sad, but it was his big exit. We know that it was his time," Nathan Osmond said. "It is a bittersweet time for our family. We will miss him dearly. He is with our grandmother now."

Nathan Osmond described his grandfather as a leader, a man of principle and a hard worker.

"He taught his boys (my dad and uncles) how to work hard by making them pick apples in the orchard," Nathan Osmond said. "Then he taught them how to play hard by using some of those apples as balls and played baseball with his boys."

"He loved onion-and-tomato sandwiches," Nathan said. "He loved his Westerns. He was a true cowboy — a tough dude. He survived everything from car accidents to his pacemaker."

Mr. Osmond and his wife, Olive, formed the Osmond Foundation, which later became the Children's Miracle Network, a nonprofit organization that raises funds for children's hospitals.

Donny Osmond was in the "Entertainment Tonight" studio getting ready to tape a segment for a show when he learned of his father's death. Marie Osmond performed Monday night on "Dancing With the Stars." After a dance to "Boogie Woogie Bugle Boy," a song from World War II, Marie talked about how her parents danced for money when they were young and struggling.

She was due to appear on Tuesday night's results segment, but she instead boarded a plane in Los Angeles with her brother to return to Utah.

George Osmond married Olive on Dec. 1, 1944. She died on Mother's Day 2004.

The couple were the parents of nine children, all but two of whom became singing stars.

Alan, Wayne, Merrill, and Jay Osmond first became famous as The Osmond Brothers, a barbershop quartet singing at Disneyland and on "The Andy Williams Show."

Their brother, Donny Osmond, joined the group at age 6 and later hosted "The Donny and Marie Show" with his sister. The youngest son, Jimmy Osmond, is also a performer.

The oldest sons, Virl and Tom, who have varying levels of deafness, have not performed much on stage with the family. However, they continue to work behind the scenes promoting and supporting the family and projects.

George Osmond is survived by nine children, 55 grandchildren and 48 great-grandchildren. Services in Provo are pending.


Contributing: The Associated Press

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