Cover photo for Sonny Osborne's Obituary
Sonny Osborne Profile Photo
1937 Sonny 2021

Sonny Osborne

October 29, 1937 — October 24, 2021


Sonny Osborne, 83, was welcomed into Heaven on October 24th, 2021 after an extended illness.  He was born on October 29, 1937 in the hills of Hyden, Kentucky, the youngest child of Robert and Daisy (Dixon) Osborne.

Sonny first picked up the banjo at age 11 and by age 13 he had become one of Bill Monroe’s Blue Grass Boys.  When brother Bobby returned from the service, Sonny teamed up with him to form The Osborne Brothers.   They became members of the Grand Ole Opry in 1964 and released Rocky Top on Christmas Day 1967.  After a prolific career, Sonny retired in 2005 due to a shoulder injury.  He remained in the music industry building his own brand of banjos, mentoring young bluegrass entertainers, and writing a weekly column for Bluegrass Today.

His music career was only a tiny part of who he was though. Sonny married his wife Judy on June 26, 1958 and raised two children, Steven and Karen.  He was a beloved husband, father, PawPaw, friend, teacher, and role model to his family and anyone who crossed his path.  His presence here on Earth will be sorely missed and his passing will leave a void for us all.  But comfort can be found knowing that he is in the arms of Jesus and has been reunited with his parents.

Sonny leaves behind his devoted wife Judy (Wachter); children Steven (Jennifer) and Karen; two grandchildren Joseph (Julie) and Matt (Savanna); three great grandchildren Michael, Adalyn, and Iverson.  He will be missed by his brother Bobby (Karen), his sister Louise (Conrad) Williams, as well as nieces, nephews, relatives and friends.

In lieu of flowers, contributions can be made to:

Bluegrass, Old-Time, and Roots Music at East Tennessee State University. Please send gifts to: ETSU Advancement, PO Box 70721, Johnson City, TN  37614. Make checks payable to “ETSU Foundation” and include on the memo line “ETSU Bluegrass / Sonny Osborne Memoriam.” Gifts can also be sent online by visiting and following the Sonny Osborne Memoriam link.

The Humane Society of Sumner County


(checks)           HSSC, PO Box 2412, Hendersonville, TN 37077

To order memorial trees or send flowers to the family in memory of Sonny Osborne, please visit our flower store.


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