On Sunday, October 14, in the comfort of her beautiful home, Agnes Osborn-Flautt peacefully left the loving embrace of her earthly family to be welcomed into the loving arms of those waiting for her in Heaven.
Agnes Marie McHugh was born in Rochester, New York in 1918. Or 1919. She could never be sure. And, at 93 or 94 years old, it was okay to lie about her age. From early on, Agnes showed great talent as a tap dancer. In her childhood, she won an audition that gave her the opportunity to dance with the legendary Bill “Bojangles” Robinson. While the lure of show business was always tempting to Agnes, her father demanded higher education and more “stable” employment. After attending Niagara University in New York, Agnes began her career in the Office of the President of Bausch & Lomb. Because this was during World War II, and Bausch & Lomb had numerous government contracts, Agnes needed FBI clearance as she worked closely with those agencies. It was during this time that an outgoing colleague from Security noticed the pretty and confident young woman. One day he commented, “My brother, who is in medical school in Buffalo, is coming for a visit this weekend. I think you should meet him.” Agnes met the tall, affable, bright redhead, Jack Osborn, and it was a match made in heaven.
Jack and Agnes were married in Rochester, New York on February 19, 1944. Later that year, they moved to Rochester, Minnesota, where Jack began his fellowship in Anesthesiology at Mayo Clinic. Although a two-year stint in the Army brought Jack to Germany in the mid-40s, and sent Agnes and their baby Mike back east to live while he was overseas, Rochester, Minnesota has been her home ever since they got off that westbound train in 1944. In 1948, they welcomed second son, Steve, and also built the beautiful southwest Rochester home that was so dear to them. The first girl in generations of Osborns was their pride and joy when Mary was born. Jack and Agnes were delighted with their young family, sustained by their deep faith and their abiding friendships. And dancing: they loved to dance. Friends said they could look into the Osborn living room on any given night to see Jack and Agnes dancing together. A few years later, the baby of the family, Julie, was born shortly before the untimely death of Jack, who succumbed to renal cancer at age 38. His wish: that Agnes stay in that home to raise their children … which she did, with tremendous courage, humor, and love. Not to mention incredible cooking; there was always something freshly baked on the Osborn kitchen table. The Osborn children were imbued with the knowledge that family is an indomitable force and, together, anything can be handled from triumph to tragedy and all things in between. As a single parent, Agnes raised four very successful, happy children.
Agnes was an involved member of St. John Catholic Church and School, serving as a parent volunteer, as President of the Altar and Rosary Society, and the person who began the “Silver Teas” for the parish’s Golden Age Group; for many years she was an Auxilian in the patient library at Saint Marys Hospital. When her youngest child was in grade school, Agnes returned to the work force. First, her administrative expertise was put to use as she helped establish the Rochester office of Catholic Charities. Later she put her editorial skills to use, first with the medical journal Anesthesia and Analgesia, and then The Journal of Thoracic and Cardiovascular Surgery, where she remained until retirement.
Thirty years after Jack’s death, an old friend from Louisville, Kentucky, came back to town for a visit. Bob Flautt was a colleague of Jack’s. During his fellowship at Mayo, Bob and his wife, Lou, had become dear friends with Jack and Agnes; Lou had passed away in 1985. Agnes and Bob rekindled their friendship, and fell in love. On March 21, 1987, Bob married his “Sweetheart” at St. John’s Church in Rochester. They divided their time between Agnes’ Rochester home, and Bob’s homes in Louisville and Florida. In later years, Bob’s declining health brought them back to Rochester full-time. Their home continued to be the haven for gatherings with Agnes’ four children and their families, as well as Bob’s four children and their families. Bob passed away in 2008.
Agnes was preceded in death by her husbands, John E. Osborn, M.D. and J. Robert Flautt, Jr., M.D., as well as her granddaughters Sarah Kate and Jillian Lee Osborn, and grandchildren Graham Sparks Rooke and Meredith Osborn Rooke. She is survived by her children and their spouses: Mike and Margot Osborn, Steve and Susan Osborn, Mary and Gabe Sciallis, Julie and Thom Rooke. Her legacy also continues through her 14 grandchildren: John, Peter, and Molly Osborn; Patrick (Arias), Mark (Rebecca), Mike (Kelly) and Tim (Vona) Osborn; Gabe III, Mike (Beth), Andy, and Kelly Sciallis; and, Griffin, William and Stephen Rooke; as well as her 7 great-grandchildren: Allison, Nathan, Brynna and Brooke Osborn, Lauren Osborn, and Paige and Dylan Sciallis. She is also survived by her four stepchildren, Susan, Jim, Pat and Mark Flautt, and their families.
The Osborn children would like to express their deep gratitude to the sainted caregivers from Home Instead, as well as Mayo Hospice, who treated Agnes with profound dignity and love, and helped her to remain in the home that meant so much to her.
A Mass of Christian Burial will be held on Wednesday, October 17, at St. John’s Catholic Church at 2:00 p.m. with a visitation one hour before the service at church.
The family would prefer memorials to the Poverello Fund, or the Graham and Meredith Rooke Memorial Scholarship at Rochester Catholic Schools.