L. Dwight "Jack" O'Dell, Jr.March 17, 1938 ~ November 26, 2017 (age 79)
L. Dwight “Jack” O’Dell, Jr.
March 17, 1938 - November 26, 2017
Jack died of complications related to Parkinson’s disease with Lewy Body Dementia. He was being cared for by the dedicated and loving staff of Casey House, Montgomery Hospice, Rockville, MD.
Beloved husband of Evelyn “Bunny” O’Dell; son of L. Dwight O’Dell and Ruth Horner O’Dell (both deceased); brother of Kathy O’Dell (John Mernit), Nancy Drake, John O’Dell (deceased), and Patricia Landphair (deceased). Beloved father of Lindsay Dwight O’Dell (Michelle) of Raleigh, NC, and Allison O’Dell Walther of Gaithersburg, MD. Beloved grandfather and “Papa” of Sydney, Emmy, J. R., Van, and Bodie; and beloved uncle to many nieces and nephews.
Jack grew up in Chaffee, New York, near the family’s dairy farm, where he developed his strong work ethic. In 1956, he graduated from Arcade Central High School, where he was active in sports, a passion to which he later returned as an adult, ranking fourth in the Maryland state racquetball championships.
Jack attended the University of South Carolina, following which he spent four years in the U.S. Navy on an experimental submarine. After he left the Navy, Jack began his retail career with Bloomingdale’s, Lexington Avenue, NYC. He started in the sub-basement, where he gift-wrapped packages, and worked his way up the corporate ladder to his position as Vice President/Operations at Garfinckel’s, Washington, DC. When Garfinckel’s was sold, all of the officers were terminated at once.
Jack was a humble man. After the sale of Garfinckel’s, he knew that his chances of upward career mobility were limited in the DC area. Nevertheless, he made a decision not to relocate, due to his children living nearby and his involvement in his church. He believed God would provide work and knew of his ultimate career dream. To support his family, Jack began driving a limousine. His favorite part of driving was to support children with life-limiting illnesses through the Make-A-Wish Foundation.
Eventually, Jack’s career dream of being a CEO was realized . . . and he was able to accomplish it without leaving the metropolitan DC area.
Jack was a consummate storyteller. Some of his favorite stories of his retail career included the day at Bloomingdale’s when he was sitting in his office as Director of HR/Operations and the door flew open. Sophia Loren was shopping in the store when other shoppers, recognizing her, started jumping off escalators and over chairs to get a better look at her. The security guard sat Ms. Loren down in the chair in front of Jack’s desk and told him to watch her until they could get her husband to come and rescue her.
Another day he was at the escalator, which had malfunctioned. Arms out to his sides to keep people from stepping onto the escalator, he felt someone leaning against him with his head over Jack’s shoulder. The voice asked Jack how long the equipment would be out of order. Jack turned his head . . . it was Jimmy Stewart.
In addition to being a racquetball player, Jack was an avid downhill skier. In fact, there was not a sport he did not enjoy - if he wasn’t participating himself, he was an enthusiastic spectator.
He was devoted to his family and friends. He was devoted to his faith which never wavered during his illness. He was devoted to the Rotary Club of Carroll Creek, Frederick, MD. It was his participation in, and love of, Rotary that kept his body and his mind active and alert despite his advancing illness. He never considered any RCCC involvement, to the extent he was able to contribute, anything but a delight.
Jack’s faith never wavered despite his illness. He was a member of St. John the Baptist Antiochian Orthodox Church in Lewistown, MD. Even at his end-of-life, he knew he could no longer attend services but wanted to ride by the church so he could see it. Jack always felt loved and supported by everyone in the congregation.
Visitation will be Friday, December 1, 2017, 6:00 - 8:00 PM, at Stauffer Funeral Home, 1621 Opossumtown Pike, Frederick, MD 21702. The funeral service will be at Stauffer Funeral Home on Saturday, December 2, 2017, at 10:00 AM, followed by interment at Mount Olivet Cemetery, 515 S. Market St., Frederick, MD 21701.
In lieu of flowers, please consider gifts in Jack’s memory to Rotary Club of Carroll Creek, P.O. Box 39, Frederick, Maryland 21705, or Casey House, c/o Montgomery Hospice, 1355 Piccard Drive, Rockville, MD 20850.