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Funeral home owner Francis H. Osgood

Apprentice funeral director Francis H. Osgood was anxious about starting the first Pinellas Park funeral home in the sparsely populated mid-county of 1955.

But with encouragement from a friend and fellow funeral director, Mr. Osgood started his business, F.H. Osgood Funeral Home, which survives 45 years later at its original Park Boulevard location as Osgood-Cloud Funeral Home and Cremation Services.

Mr. Osgood, 80, died Thursday (Dec. 28, 2000) of liver cancer at his St. Petersburg home under hospice care, his wife said.

"Frank was a fine funeral director and a credit to that profession," said Frank Ryll, a retired Pinellas County funeral director of 45 years. It was Ryll who encouraged Mr. Osgood.

"He was very concerned," Mr. Ryll said, that Pinellas Park, then an undeveloped stretch between St. Petersburg and Clearwater, could support his business. But Mr. Ryll assured him the population of southern Pinellas County could grow only north. "It was at that time that things were really popping," Mr. Ryll said.

Mr. Osgood retired in 1970 to take care of his first wife, Viola, who was in failing health. He turned the business over to A. Bruce Cloud.

In his retirement, Mr. Osgood enjoyed traveling and dancing at Elks Lodge 2217 in Pinellas Park, where he and his wife of almost 19 years, Beulah B., were members.

Born in Concord, N.H., Mr. Osgood came here in 1950 from St. Cloud. He learned his trade for five years at the John S. Rhodes funeral home in St. Petersburg. He moved from Pinellas Park to St. Petersburg when he remarried in 1982.

He was an Army Air Forces veteran of World War II and was past president of the Pinellas County Funeral Homes Association, the Pinellas Park Rotary Club and the Pinellas Park/Mid-County Chamber of Commerce.

Other survivors include a brother-in-law, Ralph, and several nieces and nephews.

Visitation is 2 to 4 p.m. Dec. 31 at Osgood-Cloud Funeral Home and Cremation Services, 4691 Park Blvd. The funeral will be in Louisville, Ky. Memorial donations can be made to Hospice Foundation of the Florida Suncoast, 300 E Bay Drive, Largo, 33770-9850.