Alfred Wayne O’Dell was born November 3, 1931, at home, in Beckley, West Virginia to John Alfred and Gladys Marie O’Dell. He was the second child of six.He graduated high school from Beckley, where he was a multiple sport athlete. After high school he joined the Coast Guard and served on a lightship and a rescue cutter in Florida. Upon completion of his service, he attended West Virginia University in Morgantown, WV. While earning a bachelor’s degree in forestry he lettered in the sports of cross country, wrestling and track. He narrowly missed becoming a four-sport letterman by not quite earning a letter in gymnastics.
He began his professional career as a forester working in the Southwestern panhandle of Alaska. In Alaska he lived in several small towns and in Juneau. There he met Carol Pearl Verbeck who he asked to marry on their first date. The two were married in a chapel overlooking the Mendenhall glacier on June 1st, 1963, and there began a marriage of 59 years.
They moved to Omak, Washington in 1965 where they bought an orchard and began his second career. They had three sons and while raising a family and growing apples and pears he continued his career as a forester working for the Biles and Coleman lumber company and later Crown Zellerbach. In his retirement he enjoyed his grandchildren and teaching them about trees. He created a park in which he planted and grew over 200 species of American trees.
Throughout his life he set a strong example of work ethic, straight forward honesty, generosity and integrity. He was steadfastly loyal to his family. He led and taught by example much more than by word. Over the years he spent time with and cared for elderly people that he came into relationship with, including John Kermel, Percy Fallon, Frank Tratnik, and others. He strongly believed in Jesus Christ and His sacrifice for each of us on the cross.
Al passed into eternity, in Omak on Thursday morning, April 28, 2022. He was preceded in death by his parents, two brothers and one sister. He is survived by his wife, Carol; his three sons, Jess (Vicky), Thad (Erin) and Lance (Shannon) O’Dell; two sisters, Marsha (Bruce) Reid and Pat (Dave) Harrell and 12 grandchildren. The Lord blessed him with a good life and beautiful family.
There will be a simple, outdoor memorial and celebration of life at the O’Dell farm on Omak Airport Road, Saturday, May 7rh at 2 p.m. Pastor Mike McCune will officiate. In lieu of flowers, please give to the Ronald McDonald house for care and housing of families struggling with childhood diseases.
Bergh Funeral Service & Crematory is in care of arrangements.