Businessman Julian Osbon dies

Robert Seale/ Augusta Chronicle 1993
Osbon after being honored as Small Business Person of the Year for Georgia in 1993.
Thursday, Jan. 23, 2014 10:34 AM
Last updated Friday, Jan. 24, 2014 1:32 AM
  • Follow Business

Julian Osbon, who pioneered a treatment for impotence in the 1980s and retired to a second career of Augusta philanthropy, has died at age 74.



View more photos

Those who knew Osbon often cite his visionary and entrepreneurial spirit.

His business accumen earned him several awards, including the Presidential “E” Award in 1993, a federal honor for exporters, the Georgia Small Businessman of the Year in 1995 and the Spirit of Georgia award from the Georgia Economic Developers Association in 1997.

He is past president of Augusta Tomorrow and past chair for the CSRA Community Foundation.

“He was an intelligent person and a visionary person,” said R. Lee Smith, the foundation’s president. “He continued to give back and supported issues and good things that made Augusta move forward. He was a very dynamic person and a very giving person.”

Osbon was named Augusta Philanthropist of the Year in 1996. His community involvement included stints for Augusta History Museum, Historic Augusta, University Health Care Foundation and the executive committee of the Medical College of Georgia Research Institute. He was also on the board for the Georgia Medical Center Authority.

Osbon, who has a profile page at Forbes magazine’s Web site, sat on the board of directors for Georgia-Carolina Bancshares, which runs First Bank of Georgia. He resigned his board position in 2012 as his health declined.

“People who knew Julian knew he was a wise counsel. He thought before he spoke. He was very thoughtful, entrepreneurial and very ethical,” said Remer Brinson III, president of the bank. “We’ll miss Julian. He has quite a legacy in our community.”

Osbon was a downtown landowner, with several apartment buildings under his control.

Osbon, who turned 74 last week, was born in Aiken and worked for his father’s tire company until the early 1980s when he started his medical company to sell his father’s erectile dysfunction invention. The Osbon ErecAid was synonymous with vacuum therapy in the treatment of erectile dysfunction before Viagra. Osbon Medical Systems grew to become a business with $30 million annual sales and then merged with a California company in 1995 in a $46 million deal.

Four years later, Osbon got back into the industry by buying a small company in Alabama that sold similar vacuum therapy aids to the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs and renamed it SOMA Blue Inc. It went out of business in 2003 after being ravaged by lawsuits from competitors.

“They didn’t want anyone named Osbon back in the business,” Osbon told the The Chronicle in 2007.

Osbon had another legal controversy, settling a federal Medicare fraud case out of court in 2012 for $1.4 million. Osbon said there may have been some billing mistakes made between closing SOMA Blue and opening Augusta Medical Systems, but he stopped fighting the matter due to his leukemia diagnosis.

Osbon leaves behind three sons, Michael, Christopher and John, and two grandchildren. He got his bachelor of arts in finance and business administration from Wofford College in Spartanburg, S.C.

Comments (9) Add comment
ADVISORY: Users are solely responsible for opinions they post here and for following agreed-upon rules of civility. Posts and comments do not reflect the views of this site. Posts and comments are automatically checked for inappropriate language, but readers might find some comments offensive or inaccurate. If you believe a comment violates our rules, click the "Flag as offensive" link below the comment.
David Parker
David Parker 01/23/14 - 01:14 pm
What a loss to the community.

What a loss to the community. Condolences.

countyman 01/23/14 - 01:19 pm
Great man!

His legacy will continue to live on...

Little Lamb
Little Lamb 01/23/14 - 03:42 pm

Wasn't he the guy who kept promising to build a hotel down at the Commons?

David Parker
David Parker 01/24/14 - 01:23 pm
Not sure. There was alot of

Not sure. There was alot of talk about that place but no hotel yet. From what I heard, Osbon developed medical treatments and things of that nature. He may very well have been working toward getting the hotel in there. I believe the family owns some property downtown.

hootshoney 01/23/14 - 04:30 pm
I started working with Mr.

I started working with Mr. Osbon (Julian's dad), Julian, David (Julian's brother) and Harry my senior year at Augusta College. Shortly after, Jimmy Whitehead joined the company. Julian was fresh out of college with many untested business theories, most of which didn't work. Julian's dad tolerated the experimentation, but kept a close eye on the finances.
Upon graduation, I left Osbon's to work for Shell. Julian was a good friend, son, father and employer. I learned from him and will miss him.

Dewfairy76 01/23/14 - 05:08 pm
I just want to say we lost a

I just want to say we lost a hero today. Mr. Osbon was like family to me and I will miss him. He taught me a lot and was filled with wisdom, courage and strength. He overcame so much during his lifetime and was always an inspiration to others. He was a mentor and a source of inspiration in my own life. He will be missed greatly by his family and many close friends. My thoughts go out to his children, grandchildren and the rest of his family members and those that were close enough to him to call him family. Even amidst adversity and illness, Julian always held his head high and walked the best path he knew how. I admired his strength during his illness and his never ending resolve to get better. It was a true pleasure to have known him like I did. Rest easy my dear friend. We will see each other again.

Boston93 01/24/14 - 12:50 pm
So sad to hear this. Such a

So sad to hear this. Such a community servant in so many facets of Augusta. Being President of the Augusta Strider for six years and the many things he done for me and the Striders and runners of Augusta. Ran with him on several occasions and have the highest respect for him. The running club was struggling and he contributed so much to them and allowed me and the club use of his conference room in the building he did own at 13th and Broad Streets and that was such a great gift that allowed us a quality meeting location. He and his employees were so super in that Julian, Dorothy Peterson sponsored and executed many of the original Broad Street Rambles. Made it so easy for the club. God Bless him and his family. You will be missed Mr. Osbon.

Peter Dakin
Peter Dakin 01/24/14 - 09:26 pm
We will miss Julian Osbon

Working with VP Horst Oeckinghaus Julian directed International expansion in to most overseas markets at times 50% of sales. All industrialized nations, middle east, Africa, South & Central America and Australasia. Even paralyzed war victims in home and markets not open today benefited with the aid to creating families. Visiting hospitals and clinics worldwide one was not surprised to meet Julian also visiting the same country promoting his products. He established a great team and effective product still of value to some patients today where chemical options either do not work or cannot be used. His large professional Augusta Call Center Team on Main Street talked to the world, he hired doctors top in their field and promotion including Home and overseas TV and Radio Talk Shows. He promoted his fathers invention which he perfected. Entrepreneurs like Julian Osbon are exactly what the USA needs more of and the Augusta Community benefited from his enterprise. On behalf of all former employees thank you for the opportunity to work on your team. Rest in peace Julian, you did good, you earned it.

beentheredonethattwice 06/12/14 - 02:34 pm
Didn't Happen That Way! Had Everyone fooled!

Julian's brother Jim Osbon was responsible for the success of Osbon Medical Systems. Jim got the device covered by Medicare and saved the company from Bankruptcyby writing a FAT check! Julian is responsible for the Bankruptcy of Osbon Tire and many other businesses after the sell of OMS! Jim liked success and didn't care for the publicity.

Leilamckinney 06/18/14 - 08:00 pm
Full disclosure

I have waited almost five months to put this into print. I am Julian's daughter. We found each other just 7 months before he died. My whole life I was led to believe that my father was someone else - an abusive, violent man that I rarely spoke to. After his death I learned that my mother had hidden my true origins from both me and from Julian.
Although we only had a short amount of time together I was able to see so much of myself in him and in spite of his failing health we were able to reconnect with each other in the best way that we could.
Unlike my "brothers" who wasted every gift showered upon them, have all been in and out of jail, and pretended to care about me until literally the day Julian died, I am a self- made success story who started with nothing and earned five college degrees. I am my father's daughter.
And in case anyone wonders, I do have a DNA test and volumes of texts and emails proving not only the biological but the sincere connection between my father and I. The saddest part is that in spite of the fact that I, at my brother's insistence, signed away any legal right to claim my rightful place in the family just so that he would allow his dad to take the DNA test- when it all came down and he was gone I was cast aside. Julian would be heart-broken. Thankfully , my newly found extended family, who have no financial skin in the game, have embraced me as their own and been supportive. Karma is a [filtered word], as evidenced by the recent Osbon media reports. Thank goodness my dad isn't alive to witness it.
Ultimately it doesn't matter what they do. I am proud to be Julian's daughter and he died very proud of me. Let's see if the chronicle has the nerve to publish the truth.

Back to Top
Search Augusta jobs
Top headlines
Agencies weigh in on body cameras
After a year of use, both Richmond County Sheriff's Office and North Augusta Department of Public Safety have learned the true strengths and weaknesses of police body-worn cameras.