Thomas A. O’Dea, 90, Ottawa, was called home Sunday, Nov. 24, 2013. He had been a resident at Wellsville Retirement Community since Dec. 4, 2012.
Funeral services are planned for 11 a.m. Saturday, Nov. 30, 2013, at the Wellsville Baptist Church. Visitation is set for 10 a.m. Saturday at the church. Interment is to follow in the Wellsville Cemetery.
Thomas was born Oct. 8, 1923, near Adrian, Mo., to Thomas O’Dea and Myrtle (Haworth) Stine O’Dea. He was the last member of a family of 12 siblings; “his,” “hers” and “ours.” The family moved to a farm near Richmond, Kan., in 1926.
When Thomas was 11, his father passed away. The Great Depression and the loss of the farm caused the family to move many times between Kansas and California. Thomas was enrolled in 13 schools in the 12 years of his education.
In 1941, during his senior year at Wellsville High School, he enlisted in the Army Air Corps. Thomas served four years in the military. While stationed in Italy, he flew 50 missions over Europe as a tail gunner in a B-17 bomber.
After his honorable discharge from the military, he married his high school sweetheart in 1946 Y’Vonne Gilbert. They were married more than 67 years before his passing. Rehabilitation programs were not available in the post-war days, so Thomas found solace for war-torn nerves in soil conservation. Owning his own bulldozer, he pursued conservation work for 50 years.
During the course of his life, Thomas belonged to Tauy Baptist Church, New Hope Baptist Church and the Wellsville Baptist Church.
He was a member of the American Legion and the Veterans of Foreign Wars.
Thomas will be remembered for his readiness and willingness to tell stories. His stories were a recall of incidents in his life, followed by his comical application of them to the listener’s amusement.
Survivors include his widow; a son, Brad O’Dea; and daughters, Tamara Mosher, Cena Johnson, Odree O’Connor, Melanie Bartlow, Tomalea Bench and Octavia O’ Dea; 15 grandchildren; 18 great-grandchildren; and many nieces and nephews.
Thomas O’Dea’s life reflected his love for God, his love for his country and his love for his family. He will be remembered by his family and many, many friends.
Memorial contributions may be made to the Wellsville Baptist Church or the Wellsville Retirement Community through Wilson’s Funeral Home, P.O. Box 486, Wellsville KS 66092.