The Sweet Briar community mourns the death of Jan Ype Osinga, who passed away on Tuesday, Feb. 28, 2012, at the age of 85. Osinga worked at Sweet Briar for more than 40 years.
He was born in Woudsend, in the Netherlands, to the late Ieke Kampen and Johannes Osinga on Feb. 25, 1927. Osinga served three years in the Dutch Army in the Dutch Indies (Indonesia.) He later graduated from Rykslandbouw Agricultural College and attended the agricultural exchange program at Perdue University. Osinga and his wife, Douwina Anna Bouma, arrived at Hoboken, N.J., by boat from Holland on Labor Day weekend 1952.
One year later, the two came to Sweet Briar, where he began working at the Sweet Briar Farm as a herdsman and head of the dairy for five years. In 1958, they moved to Uniontown, Pa., but returned in 1961 to again work at the dairy. In the spring of 1965, Osinga became farm manager until his retirement in 1990. The first dairy farmer to produce yogurt in Virginia, known as Dutch Yoghurt, he was involved in several farm organizations and proudly represented 75 dairy farms for 25 years as director on the board of the Maryland-Virginia Milk Producers Association and on the board of the Southeast United Dairy Industry Association (SUDIA). In 1991, Osinga returned to the College and worked part time as dairy plant manager until 1995. He was an active member of Amherst Presbyterian Church, where he served as elder and deacon and sang tenor in the choir. A member of the Amherst Monroe Ruritan Club since 1963, he served as vice president, president and secretary. He was also zone governor for six years.
In addition to his parents, Osinga was preceded in death by his three-year-old daughter, Henrietta Irene Osinga, two sisters, Uilke Osinga Tukker and Tietje Osinga Walsweer, and his brother, Johannes Osinga. He is survived by his beloved wife of 59 years, Douwina; and his children, Nelly Osinga Branson and her husband, Lindsay; Ieke Osinga Scully and her husband, Mark; and John Harold Osinga and his wife, Jennifer. He was the proud grandfather of eight grandchildren, Susan and Molly Branson; Brendan, William and Kirk Scully; and Helen, Amber and John Osinga. He also is survived by two sisters, Aukje Osinga Bouma and Antje Osinga.
Services were held March 3 at Amherst Presbyterian Church. Online condolences may be made at www.norrisfuneral.com. The family requests that, in lieu of flowers, donations be made to the Amherst Presbyterian Church Pre-school Scholarship Fund, or the Pedlar Rescue Squad.
The Osingas are the parents of alumnae Nelly Martha Branson ’75 and Ieke Marie Scully ’78. Notes and letters of condolence can be sent to Douwina Osinga at 252 Waughs Ferry Road, Amherst, VA 24521.