Ishmael Osborne Jr. was the go-to guy if any city blue-collar worker had a problem.
As a shop steward in AFSCME District Council 33, "Ish," as he was called, had a reputation for handling grievances - and getting results.
"He fought hard and tirelessly for his co-workers," his family said. "He won many grievances during his employment."
Ishmael Osborne Jr., a 33-year employee of the Sanitation Division of the city Streets Department, a loving family man who enjoyed the casinos and had a knack for shopping for bargains, died of cancer Saturday. He was 70 and lived in West Oak Lane.
After he retired from the city in 1996, he went to work for the Donnelly Co., delivering phone books.
Ish, who also answered to the nickname Junie, was a coupon-clipping fanatic. He was a master at saving money at the grocery store, always looking for bargains, and employing coupons from newspapers to save more money.
"You could always call him to find out which store was having a sale," his family said.
His favorite pastime was visiting casinos in Atlantic City and Chester, or the new SugarHouse Casino, in Philadelphia, where he would test his luck at the slot machines.
Since he lost a leg to diabetes four years ago, Ish had to use a scooter to get around, but that didn't stop him from pursuing his favorite pastimes or taking care of his family.
Ishmael was born in Philadelphia, one of the 11 children of Lavenia and Ishmael Osborne Sr. He attended South Philadelphia High School. He and his wife, Clarise "Bunny" Osborne, were married in 1960.
"He was very jovial," said a niece, Lisa Baldi. "And very knowledgeable. You could always go to him for advice. He was a very loyal and loving family man. When siblings died, he would take it on himself to care for their children."
Ishmael was also a master of the back-yard barbecue, where he was very protective of his secrets.
Besides his wife, he is survived by two daughters, Ava King and Adrienne Osborne; a son, Ishmael "Tommy" Osborne; a brother, Carlos; a sister, Marie Bryant; 10 grandchildren and four great-grandchildren.
Services: 9 a.m. tomorrow at Mount Zion Pentecostal Church, 1224 Point Breeze Ave. Friends may call at 8 a.m.