Osie Jackson grew up in
Ft. Myers, Florida where his father worked for a large printing firm
and his mother was a homemaker. He spent his
years much of the time on the Thomas Edison estate with the sons of
the caretaker, playing football and fishing from the dock that
framed one end of the beautiful estate.
Following high school Osie joined the Air Force in 1952, serving as
an intelligence specialist. Home on furlough, he was reunited with
classmate, Shirley Blackman. Even more beautiful than he remembered
her, they began dating and corresponding. In 1954 they were married.
Their first child, Danny was born in 1956, with Susan following a
year later. By the time their third child Mark, came along they were
stationed in Fairbanks, Alaska, and just in time to witness a
mile-stone. While outside one day, Osie saw a hot-air balloon
floating overhead with a huge star attached to it. Alaska had just
made statehood. The year was 1958 and the forty-ninth state was
admitted to the Union.
Osie chose an early-out when the Air force wanted to keep him in
Alaska an extra year and send his family back stateside. He was
quickly employed by The Martin Company, as a buyer of raw materials
(aluminum, etc.) for the building of missiles.
Osie and Shirley added three more children, Ronnie, Mitch and
Lonnie during the next ten years. However, the marriage did not
survive. Much to Osieís dismay, they decided to part ways in 1968.
Osie chose to leave Florida and head to North Carolina where his
parents had recently relocated in western Appalachia.
The family stayed in Franklin, North Carolina for the next five
years, and then moved to Anderson, South Carolina. Osie at loose
ends, moved with them. Without his family, he didnít really care at
this point, where he lived. He took a job driving cars for Carolina
Fleet, which ultimately took him to Nashville and altered the course
of his life for the next 20 some years.
On a whim he walked into a managerial office that represented
various entertainers and naively asked how to break into show
business; not in the normal capacity of performing but backstage
work. And by golly, it led to a career that spanned the next two
decades. Osie worked for and with some of the biggest names in the
entertainment field, Elvis, Liberace, Bill Cosby, plus made a
multitude of friends in the industry, friends he is still in touch
After heart surgery in 1990, Osie chose to hang up his spurs and
retired to a simpler life back in the mountains of North Carolina.
He lives a quiet life today with his sister and one of his sons. But
once in awhile he gets the itch to arrange and promote a show and
calls up old friends, Ron and RW Blackwood or The Stamps Quartet.
They come and put on a stellar performance for their old buddy, and
for a while it is just like the old days. Itís during these times
Osie gets to revel in the past for awhile, still Shaking Hands With
About Osie's Biographer
Meet author Londa L. Woody
I met Osie Jackson in the fall of 2002. His sister, Laura Mae, was a
friend of mine and she had given me a complimentary ticket to a
Blackwood's concert, held at the Fine Arts Center in Franklin,
North Carolina. Before the show started, the
Blackwood brothers took a few moments to shake hands and speak with
people in the audience. They came right over to Laura Mae and gave
her a big hug. Ron and R. W. were personable, friendly and though
gospel performers, the whole group shared a humorous side of
themselves. Laura Mae was unabashed in asking for an autographed
picture for me. I sat riveted watching the show as they sang many of
their own songs, along with other gospel classics. Part of the show
was a tribute to Elvis and J. D. Sumner. Their show was wonderful.
At the end of their performance, Ron asked Osie to come down front.
It was then I realized the depth of friendship that existed between
the Blackwood brothers and the promoter who had brought them there.
Ron asked the crowd for donations to help defer the expenses of the
show. Osie had passed out more than a dozen, $12.00 tickets to his
friends and neighbors, and though I was neither, and hadn't met him
prior to that night, I had been a lucky
recipient of one of those tickets. I soon learned his nature was
giving. I sat that night and watched from the audience as a
wonderful group of entertainers paid marked respect for a friend.
This project has allowed me a glimpse into a world filled with
teen-age idols and other celebrities: such as Elvis. How I would
love to have been at Graceland, riding in Elvis' golf cart at one
o'clock in the morning! What a thrill it would have been to sit in
on a recording session with him. Osie never lost his enthusiasm for
attending so many of Elvis' concerts. And that old pirate, Colonel
Parker, running the whole shebang with his power stogy stuck between
J. D. Sumner and the Stamps...Way Down. I have watched J. D. sing
with Elvis and on the Gaither's Home Coming show, his bass voice
reverberating through me. The Blackwoods, LeGardes, the list was
We left many pages in Osie's career unturned, simply because the
book would have been too long. He shared many wonderful things with
me, and taught me a little about the world of entertaining. Osie's
thirst for the entertainment business
was never quenched. He soaked it in like a sponge from every one he
worked with. And although he has been faced with many temptations,
he's been able to resist. I think this says a lot for his character.
I feel I am a better person for knowing him. What a humble soul he
is. The experience of writing his memoirs has enriched my life. Now,
some of what he learned, he had passed on through me to you, the
reader. Thank you, Osie.
Londa Thomas Woody grew up in Monmouth,
Illinois. She and her husband retired to the Smoky Mountians in
1996. Beautiful western North Carolina has inspired many of her
short stories. She was a guest writer for Mountain Ideals Magazine
for one year. Currently, Londa has her first novel, Rose Upon the
Sea in editing and her fourth, Dancin' On The Woodbox will be
finished by the end of the year.