Jack O’Dell, of Excelsior Springs, MO, died January 17, 2023 at Liberty Hospital of complications from sepsis.
Jack is survived by his wife, Cynthia; sons, Jonathan and Justin; grandchildren, Natalie, Jack, Lexen, Eilish, Ariel and Ava; aunt, Janetta Phillips; and sister, Helen (Stan) Alexander; along with many cousins, nieces and nephews.
He was preceded in death by his father, Chester W.; mother, Ramona O’Dell; and sister, Rene Swan.
A devoted Excelsiorite, Jack was president of the Excelsior Springs High School Class of 1965 and later of the Board of Education of the Excelsior Springs School District. Jack loved his neighbors, rarely making a trip to the store without encountering a friend and sharing a memory. He was a long-time member of the Lions Club and the Excelsior Springs Golf Club, eventually striking a hole-in-one on the 14th hole in 2013. Jack loved competing with his golfing buddies to avoid the dreaded “Crow trophy” nearly as much as he reveled in the post-round camaraderie of lunch at the 19th hole.
Jack’s interests were as diverse as they were intense. He was a voracious reader, devouring everything from classics to history and best-selling thrillers. Jack passed his love of language on to his children and grandchildren through the works of Shel Silverstein, Mark Twain and many more. He was as passionate a sports fan as he was a lover of the arts. He bled Chiefs Red, Royals Blue and Mizzou Black and Gold and held Broadway Across America season tickets for decades. Jack was a gardener whose backyard was his canvas and a keen-eyed photographer who found beauty in the sublime and the ordinary. He was an enthusiastic chef, whose mastery of the grill, smoker and Italian favorites thrilled family and friends for years. Perhaps most of all, Jack loved music. His eclectic tastes ranged from Willie Nelson to Zach Brown; from Stevie Wonder to Sam Cooke; from Fleetwood Mac to Paul Simon; from Herb Alpert to Chuck Mangione; and from the Three Tenors to the Cast Recording of a Chorus Line.
Although he counted his family as his greatest achievement, Jack’s personal and professional accomplishments were many. He held a Bachelor of Arts in Political Science from Pittsburg State University and a Master of Business Administration from Rockhurst University’s Executive Fellows Program. Jack had a nearly four decade career in health care administration and counted many colleagues as dear friends. He also served as president of the Missouri School Board Association and a member of the Board of the Visiting Nurses Association.
Jack’s joy and zest for life were a light to his family and his community. Although he will be deeply missed, he will be forever remembered.
A visitation will be held Monday, January 23, 2023, from 5 to 7 p.m. at Bross & Spidle Funeral Home in Excelsior Springs, MO. We invite you to join us to continue the celebration of Jack’s irrespressibly joyful life next Saturday, January 28, 2023 from noon to 3 p.m. at the Excelsior Springs Elks Club, 421 S. Titus Ave., Excelsior Springs, MO 64024.
In lieu of flowers, please consider a donation to the Parkinson’s Foundation or the American Cancer Society.
Our Sincere Condolences
So sorry to lose Jack. I know his last years were tough, but he had the same great personality and attitude I saw in him over 40 years ago. A special man indeed.
My message is to Cindy and Jacks’s sons.
Cindy as you know, I went to work for Jack at URS some 45 years ago – him giving me that job, changed my life forever, for the better!!!
Besides counting him as a very close friend, he was the best boss I ever had in my professional career.
While it has been some 2 years now since I last got together with Jack, I have always tried to stay in touch with him through the years.
I guess the best tribute I can give Jack is that he was just a “Great Guy” – just a genuine truly good person!
I will miss Jack but hope to see him some day on the other side!
Jack also always asked how my daughter Lauren Arthur was doing in her political career!
Cindy, Julie and I are in Southern California for the next few months, so I am sorry I won’t be able to attend his memorial.
However, I want you to know I will be thinking about Jack and you and will hold both of you in my prayers.
Julie and Larry Arthur
Dear Cindy, Jonathan, Justin and Family,
We were greatly saddened to learn of Jack’s passing. The loss of such a wonderful Husband, Father, Grandfather, friend and delightful human being is oh so difficult. We hope knowing that Jack was loved by so many provides comfort at this difficult time.
I had the great good fortune to have Jack as my first boss in the Health Care field. He was a mentor without peer. Knowledgeable, patient, giving and fun. He was the best boss I’ve ever had. We traveled a lot back in those days–lots of time in airports and on planes. Besides great advice on business matters, I could always count on Jack to recommend a good book to read during down times..My favorite to this day was James Clavell’s “Shogun”. It has been read by all my children and their spouses as a rite of passage.
Over my 45 years in Health Care Administration, I could always give Jack a call and ask for his good counsel. It was always generously given. I got to work again with Jack when he became a board member and later Chair of the Visiting Nurse Association Board of Directors. Again, his knowledge and expertise was greatly appreciated by all. Of perhaps more importance to all of Jack’s endeavors in life was his genuineness and congeniality. I can’t tell you how many times I heard people say of Jack “what a great guy!!”
It doesn’t seem possible that he’s gone and I won’t hear his laugh and distinctive voice except in my memory. I am exceedingly fortunate to have called Jack O’Dell my friend.
Love to you all–Richard and Gail Roberson
There are extra special people and families we are blessed to have in our days on this earth. We were honored to share friendship thru church w Jack’s wonderful parents. Larry couldn’t have worked for a better school board member and w Cindy in the same building and our children near same ages. It was always a bright day in our retirement to see each other for a quick visit out shopping. Jack always had a smile and kind words. We send our support and condolences to Cindy, Jonathan, Justin and his sister Helen & families.
Larry & Mary & Paula (Parkhurst) Kopp
My thoughts and prayers go out to the entire family.