KEARNEY — If you see a missionary in the Kearney area with the name tag “Osmond,” with a striking resemblance to the famous singing Osmond Family, there’s a good reason for that.
Thomas Osmond, 20, a nephew to the 1970s variety show sibling duo Donny and Marie Osmond, is a missionary in Kearney with the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints. For the last two months, he and other missionaries have been helping people in central Nebraska come closer to God.
“It provides for some good conversation, and of course, updates on Donny and Marie,” joked Osmond, who says many people make the connection between him to his well-known family.
Thomas is a native of Ephraim, Utah, and the son of Tom Osmond, the second-oldest son of George and Olive Osmond. Two other missionaries join Thomas Osmond in Kearney, Matthew Palmer, 23, of Richfield, Utah, and Kory Mortimer, 20, of Sandy, Utah.
Palmer and Mortimer say Thomas doesn’t act as if he’s from a legendary family.
“I actually don’t think he likes it, sometimes. He’s good with it,” Mortimer said. “If he wasn’t wearing that name tag, I don’t think anyone would guess he was related to anyone famous.”
During their two years of full-time service, the missionaries devote themselves to studying, meeting people and teaching about Jesus Christ and the church.
Tom Osmond and the oldest Osmond brother, Virl, were born deaf, and didn’t perform with their younger famous brothers, except on a few occasions to sign the lyrics. The Osmonds — brothers Alan, Wayne, Merrill and Jay — first paved the way as regulars on the “Andy Williams Show” in the 1960s.
In 1976, Donny and Marie made history as the youngest entertainers ever to be hosts of their own variety show.
Thomas said he had a “fairly average life” as a child.
“From a very young age, it was just always normal to see your aunt and all your uncles on TV. It was just another day,” he said.
Modestly, Thomas says he didn’t inherit much of his family’s musical talents, although he took guitar and piano lessons.
“It’s never really been something that I’ve pursued too much,” he said.
“I’ve sat next to him in church and have heard him sing,” he said laughing.
In November 2007, Thomas, along with more than 100 family members, traveled to Walt Disney World, Las Vegas and Chicago where they appeared on “The Oprah Show” to celebrate the Osmond 50th Anniversary. All family members went on stage to sing.
It’s the only time Thomas says he’s sung with his family members outside of church.
After his two-year missionary stint is over, Thomas plans to return to Utah, where he will finish junior college, then enroll at Utah Valley University in Orem and go through the ROTC program. Eventually, he’d like to be a life flight pilot and has already been in contact with a member of Kearney’s Good Samaritan Hospital’s AirCare crew.
“I have some good connections in Kearney. I’m loving it here,” he said.