October 19, 2014
When I was growing up in Texas, I played on a Little League baseball team that was coached by my Uncle John. His son, Bill, who was 2 years younger, also played on the team. Bill put all he had into each game, even though baseball turned out not to be his strong suit; however, even as a kid, Bill excelled in other areas. For example, at ten years old, he had memorized what all the state car tags looked like, and could identify them before the rest of us could even make out a letter. He continued developing similar skills as he grew up, recently retiring as court reporter for the Speaker of the U.S. House of Representatives.
Although retired, Bill was still “young” and physically fit enough to try other directions. He moved to Flagstaff, as it was half-way between his son, John Lee, an actor in Los Angeles, and family in the east, found a nice job in a deli, and a friendly apartment complex to live in. He was excited and happy in his new adventure.
On Saturday, October 18, I received the news that my cousin, Bill Odom, was found dead in his apartment in Flagstaff, Arizona. Friends and family had not received replies to contacts in five days of trying, so the complex staff sent someone to investigate. Bill lived alone. It will be awhile before we know anything else.
Here is a photo of Bill, probably the last one ever taken of him. It was taken at a Walgreen’s store in Flagstaff by the photo technician. Bill had taken some film there for processing on August 23. He had sent this photo and some others of his new place to me in September. Since retiring, Bill had been able to visit me twice in the last year. Bill’s mother, Ruthie Jean, was a sister of my mother. We exchanged many letters and visited by phone calls often through the years. Bill was my cousin and my friend.
William Lee Odom Nov. 23, 1951 — October, 2014