MILLSTONE — The Millstone Performing Arts Center, Dawson Court, will host a benefit performance featuring ventriloquist, musician and comedian Taylor Mason at 8 p.m. Nov. 13.
Ticket prices range from $15 to $25 and may be purchased online at the website www.millstoneperformingarts.com.
Mason’s performance will benefit the family of the late Ellen Osborn, a Millstone Township Middle School teacher who died in August.
Osborn is survived by her husband, Rick, and sons Carter, 11, and Charles, 7.
Rick Osborn is continuing to recover from a major stroke he had earlier this year. He is raising his boys in Pine Beach, Ocean County.
“I am now a single parent at age 51 and certainly miss my Ellen,” Osborn said. “The boys’ greatest need now is a dad who can manage the day-to-day routine of school, activities and household chores.”
Prior to becoming ill, Osborn was the senior manager of consignment operations for Spirit Halloween, a sister company of Spencer Gifts, Egg Harbor Township.
“Returning to the workplace is a slow process and I am uncertain of the outcome,” Osborn said. “I hope to live independently.”
Osborn said he is undergoing physical and occupational therapy.
Family members have been a great source of support and comfort at this difficult time.
“For now, my parents, Fred and Barbara Osborn, have closed their home in North Carolina and have been staying with us since April 3,” Osborn said. “They cover all the driving, the housekeeping, shopping, meals and all else that goes on in the lives of two active boys and their dad.”
He said he receives frequent phone calls and visits from his mother-in-law, Linda Kraus, and his brothers, Jim and Bill Osborn.
Osborn said he believes his sons are resilient.
Carter is a “very good student” in the sixth grade who is active in swimming, Boy Scouts, basketball and clubs at school, according to Osborn.
Charlie, who is in the second grade, loves math, swims “a mean backstroke” and spends his spare time practicing basketball and baseball, Osborn said.
“Our life goes on, people have been very kind and offer support in our daily lives,” he said. “Carter and Charlie miss their mother, but know she is in a good place.”
Osborn expressed his appreciation to the Millstone school district for the outpouring of support he has received since the passing of his wife.
“I have been overwhelmed by the students’ and co-workers’ love and respect of Ellen. Their cards, e-mail messages, phone calls, this benefit performance and the very moving evening vigil have warmed our hearts. So many people have shared their thoughts and prayers with us.
“As for the benefit, our family extends our sincere thank you to all of these very special people. Ellen was strong on a good education, and funds raised will be used by Charlie and Carter for their future schooling and, if possible, shared with other children to become fluent in reading skills.
“To our friends, neighbors, strangers and all those who loved Ellen and prayed for my ‘miracle recovery,’ I thank you and will forever be grateful. God bless you all,” Osborn said.
Millstone Superintendent of Schools Scott Feder said people in the school district wanted to help make a difference for the Osborn family. He said he hopes the benefit will be a success.
Mason’s experience as a comedy writer and performer has taken him from The Second City in Chicago to headlining gigs at comedy clubs across the country.
A press release describes Mason as “inclusive, genuinely interested in his audience and 100 percent committed to every performance, every project, and every single job he takes. Mason is known for his quick wit, flawless comedy delivery, unparalleled ventriloquism skills and brilliant material that make him a hit with audiences of all ages.”