Family mourns death of KS Turnpike employee to COVID-19

Published: Dec. 17, 2020 at 11:10 PM CST
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WICHITA, Kan. (KWCH) - Steve Osborne was a husband, father and Kansas Turnpike employee who many may recognize from seeing him working in a toll booth. His family is grieving after Osborne died from COVID-19. While remembering the man who shared his smile with loved ones, as well as strangers traveling across the state, Osborne’s wife said his story is another example of how difficult the virus can be.

“We would FaceTime him on (Google) Duo and for a week, two weeks, I had to watch my husband gasp for air,” Osborne’s wife, Terri Osborne said.

She looks back on happier memories, including how much her husband enjoyed his job, working as a toll booth operator for the Kansas Turnpike.

“Everywhere we would go, someone would say, ‘hey, you are that guy from the turnpike?’” Terri said. “So he was just such a friendly, friendly person. He didn’t know a stranger.”

She said Steve always had a smile on his face and loved people.

“It wasn’t just ‘hi, bye,’ he would carry on a conversation with those who came through hsi booth and he had regulars that recognized him,” Terri said.

Facing life without her husband, Terri has a message she wants to share about the importance of taking COVID-19 seriously.

“It could be you next, you just don’t’ know,” she said. “Don’t take COVID lightly because it could destroy your life and your family.”

A GoFundMe page has been created to help Steve Osborne’s family with medical expenses and lost wages.

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