Oshita D. Osceola Jr., a former president of the Seminole Tribe and chairman of Indian gaming in Florida, died Oct. 13 at the University of Miami. He was 70.
Mr. Osceola, who headed the Seminole Tribe of Florida for nine years beginning in 1994, the Florida Tribune reported.
Mr. Osceola, a native of the Ocala area, came to prominence in gaming circles as chairman of the tribe’s Seminole Gaming Corporation and vice chairman of Indian Gaming Regulatory Commission. While in that position, he resigned in 2003 to pursue a career in the music business.
He left Indian gaming for MGM Mirage in 2005, but made a return to gambling in 2007 with a purchase of Bally’s Entertainment, a company that was then involved in Seminole-based casinos.
Mr. Osceola Jr. was born on Nov. 20, 1941, to Thomas and Merrill Osceola.
Mr. Osceola was a graduate of Lake Mirror High School in Forest City and the University of Florida. He served as an elder and councilman on the Ocala River Tribe of Seminoles in the 1960s, became a member of the Ocala River Tribe of Seminoles in the 1970s and attended the University of Florida Law School.
He was a graduate of St. Thomas More College in Venice, La., where he studied pre-law, Native American studies and Native American business.
He leaves his wife, Jean-Marie, and their four sons, Roberto, Juan Carlos, Armando and Eduardo; his brother, Albert, a retired Episcopalian minister and a professor emeritus at Georgia Southern University; his sister, Ann Mary Glix, a retired auditor; his mother, Doxie and her husband, Roland (Mike) Morrell; his father, Walter Osceola Sr.; his sisters, Ruth Cole and Dorothy Peck, and three grandchildren.
Services will be held Friday at 2 p.m. at the First United Methodist Church of Ocala. Visitation will be held Friday afternoon.
From 2000 to 2008, Mr. Osceola served as chairman of the Florida Gaming and International Commission, formed by the Legislature to control the expansion of Indian gaming.
Survivors include his son, Rodrigo; two daughters, Josie and Armando; his sister, Doxie; and his mother, Rita B. Osceola, a retired associate district judge in the Leon County District Court and a board member of the Florida Institute of Technology.
In lieu of flowers, the family has requested that memorial contributions be made to the Seminole Tribe of Florida Foundation or University of Miami/Center for the Study of Intolerance and Violence.