William Harvey O’Dell, Sr. went home to be with the Lord on 5 June 2021. Funeral services will be 10:00 AM Wednesday June 9, 2021 at First Baptist Church Chapel, 1208 S Tyler St, with Reverend Corky Holland officiating. William will be available for viewing from 12:00 – 8:00 PM Tuesday June 8, 2021 at the funeral home. Arrangements are under the direction of Cox-Rowley Funeral Home.
William was born to Jesse Dameron and Daisy Murphy O'Dell on 25 September 1930 in Santa Rita, New Mexico. He started to school at the age of four, always curious and loving to learn. He spent his childhood in Santa Rita, Merenci, Arizona, and Maxdale, Texas.
William attended the Baptist church at Maxdale, near Ding Dong, in Bell County, where his father was a deacon and his mother was the pianist. It was here that William committed his life to Christ at age nine and was baptized in the Lampassas River.
He graduated from Killeen High School at age fifteen and enrolled at Texas A&M as a member of the corps. He joined the Air Force at age seventeen, and served as a C-47 airborne radioman in Itazuki and Yakota Japan, and the Kempo Air Base in Korea, delivering supplies and troops. He flew with the 5th Air Force, P-61 night fighter squadron, was in Guam with the 93rd Bomb Squadron, 19th Bomb Wing, 20th Air Force, flying B-29s and, when the Korean War broke out, he served with the 4th Troop Carrier Squadron, flying C-54s on the Alaska Route to Tokyo, Hawaii, Wake, and Aschia and Tachakawa in Japan. In January 1952, he was assigned to Roswell, NM and was honorably discharged the same year. He received the Korean Service, Air, and Good Conduct Medals.
William’s parents moved from Texas to Wister, Oklahoma, in March 1952, where his family joined the First Baptist Church. He attended Kiamichi Baptist Assembly, and surrendered to God’s call to the gospel ministry. Mountain View Baptist Church, Howe, Oklahoma called him as pastor in September of 1952, where he was ordained the next year. On 20 December 1952, William married Helen Grace Cagle, the daughter of John and Evvie M. Jones Cagle. In May of 1953, William enrolled at Baylor University in Waco, Texas, graduating the next year. He then earned a Master of Theology degree from Fuller Theological Seminary in Pasadena, and did post-graduate work at Golden Gate Baptist Theological Seminary in Mill Valley, both in California.
William pastored mission churches while in seminary, including the San Mateo Drive Baptist Church in San Mateo, California. He then served as pastor of the Berea Baptist Church in Big Spring, Texas, where he also worked with the Veterans' Administration Hospital there. He then became Chaplain of the Veterans Administration Medical Center in Amarillo, Texas, where he served for more than twenty years, retiring in 1992. William continued serving as interim pastor for several churches, including Baptist congregations in Dawn, Texas, and Roy, New Mexico. He spent the last several years teaching a Sunday School class at their home church, First Baptist, of Amarillo.
In June, 2000, William received a Letter of Appreciation and a Korean War Service Medal from Kim Dae-Jong, President of the Republic of Korea, in gratitude for his service to the Korean nation.
William is survived by his wife, Helen, of sixty-eight years: daughters Karen O’Dell Bullock and her husband John, of Granbury; Kandi O’Dell Pruitt of Iowa Park; Kathy O’Dell of Amarillo; and son William H. O’Dell, Jr. and his wife Amy, of Stephenville; twelve grandchildren; nine great-grandchildren; his brother Robert O’Dell and wife, Shirley, of Poteau, Oklahoma; and six nieces and nephews and their families.
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