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Leutrell Michael Carlton Osborne Sr.


Leutrell Michael Carlton Osborne Sr. (1939 - 2023) (or "Mike," as he was known within the intelligence community) left an indelible mark on the world of intelligence and social justice. A fourth-generation Washingtonian born to Ella Virginia Grisby and William Mason Osborne Sr. Born on July 8, 1939, in Washington D.C. Leutrell's journey from the city streets to the esteemed corridors of the Central Intelligence Agency (CIA) is a testament to his remarkable life. For most of us, he was the first person we met who could really say "Google Me"!   


He was educated in segregated Washington, D.C. public schools, Morgan Elementary and Shaw Jr. High School. He attended Dunbar High School as a freshman and served proudly in the Cadets. Then, he was part of the first desegregated class at Theodore Roosevelt High School in 1955 and graduated in 1957. He enlisted in the D.C. Air National Guard at 17 and served until 1962. While in high school, he met the love of his life and high school sweetheart, Rose Marie Battle, and convinced her to elope shortly after graduating. 


Ever since the age of 12, when he learned that his mother, Ella Grisgby, worked as a secretary at the CIA, Leutrell had "Spy Dreams," as described in the first chapter of his book "Black Man in the CIA."  However, like many things in his life, Leutrell took a non-traditional path to becoming an intelligence professional. Leutrell started his career with the CIA in 1957 straight out of high school as a paygrade GS-3 "still photographer."  He took advantage of the CIA tuition reimbursement program and took classes at the University of Oslo to complete his bachelor's degree from American University in 1971.  Leutrell would sometimes joke that he got his Ph.D. in Intelligence before he received his bachelor's degree.   


With the support of several mentors (or, as he called them, "Godfathers") within the agency, he completed "spy school" in 1969 to become one of the first Black Case Officers in the CIA.  During his almost 27 years of service, Leutrell was a Case Officer who recruited and managed assets and agents on three continents. In addition, he served as a Communications Security (COMSEC) Officer responsible for CIA COMSEC in over 30 Asian countries.   


His experience being in the first desegregated class at Roosevelt High School instilled a strong sense of social justice in him.  He opposed the "dirty tricks" of covert action in the CIA and refused an assignment to Vietnam.  To combat discrimination within the CIA, Leutrell proudly served on the CIA Director's Equal Employment Opportunity Advisory Panel. He collaborated with Directors William Colby and George W. Bush on this newly formed advisory panel examining why blacks were not promoted in the agency. 


After leaving the CIA, Leutrell pursued his entrepreneurial interests as Founder and President of Leutrell Osborne & Associates, a security consulting business.  This experience helped him understand the hurdles Black-owned businesses must face to do business with the Federal Government. This led him to take a position with the Office of Personnel Management (OPM) as Director of the Office of Small and Disadvantaged Business Utilization from 1989 until 1994, when Leutrell retired from federal government service.   


Leutrell also had an unyielding devotion to his community and was a very active member of Nativity Catholic Church where he served on the Parish Council and had a term as Parish Council President. Leutrell joined the Knights of Columbus and served as Grand Knight in the Keane Council (#353), one of Washington, DC's oldest Knights of Columbus councils.  Leutrell encouraged his whole family to participate in the Nativity community by attending the Nativity School, becoming altar boys, and participating in the Catholic Youth Organization sports teams.  Both in the U.S. and overseas, Leutrell coached youth basketball, football, and baseball despite not having played these sports as a youth. He also served as a Scout Master in the Boy Scouts of America, and one of his proudest moments was when one of his international scouts became an Eagle Scout. 


In addition to his professional and community activities, Leutrell had many hobbies, including bowling, fishing, photography, and Amway. Beyond this, he was an avid card player (bridge, pinochle, bid whist, and spades enthusiast). 


Leutrell is survived by his loving wife of 66 years, Rose Marie Battle. Together, they raised a beautiful family, including their children DeLevay (Michael), Monique (Michael), Leutrell II, Natasha, Carlton (Holly), as well as their late child Anastasia. He was a cherished grandfather to Michael Miner II, Rose Miner, Charlotte Miner, Michael Randolph II, Matthew Randolph, Michael Apollonio, Anaka Osborne (Jared), Rio Osborne, and a proud great-grandfather to Nora Smith and Nolan Smith. 


He also leaves behind a caring extended family, including his siblings Frank Motley (Valerie), Victoria Motley Washington, Francine Motley Clarke (Morris), Thomas Motley, the late Sylvia Osborne Duvall, William Osborne II, and the late Arnold Osborne, and Alice Osborne. Leutrell will be fondly remembered by his former daughter-in-law Cora Osborne and numerous nieces, nephews, cousins, and dear friends who were all an integral part of his life.  He will be dearly missed.

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