Funeral service for Gene Odell, 74, of Camp Crook, SD will be 11:00 am, Monday, August 14, 2023 at the Harding County School Gym, Buffalo SD, with Pastor Tom Martin officiating. Burial will take place in the Capitol Cemetery.
Family will receive friends Sunday, August 13, 2023 at Stevenson Funeral Home in Ekalaka, MT from 4:00 pm to 6:00 pm.
Gene passed away August 4, 2023 at Monument Health, Rapid City Hospital after a 10 month battle with cancer.
Melvin Eugene Odell, Jr. (Gene) was born October 17, 1948 in Ekalaka, MT, a son of Melvin and Olive (Overn) Odell. He grew up on the family ranch, just across the Montana border from Camp Crook, SD.
He attended country school through Grade 6, and then went on to Ekalaka for grades 7-11. Gene then attended Aberdeen Central High School until December of his Senior year, when he quit school to go back home and help on the ranch, due to his father dealing with health issues. Although he didn’t graduate high school, Gene did go on to receive a Bachelor of Science in Sociology and Psychology from Black Hills State University and a Masters of Education in Counseling from Montana State University.
Gene joined the United States Air Force in 1967 and served until 1971, stationed in Texas, Panama, Iceland, and Wyoming. He married Carol Owens on June 9th, 1973 in Camp Crook, SD. The couple made their home in Camp Crook, and welcomed sons, Chancey and Trevor to their family. The family lived in Spearfish, SD, Lame Deer, Bozeman, and Ashland, MT. They returned to Camp Crook in 1987.
Gene acquired a variety of work experiences throughout his life, including various area ranches, sawmills, Harding County Highway Department, Parts manager at Junek’s Service in Spearfish, Case manager for Sky Ranch for Boys, and St. Labre Children’s home, and manager at Lame Deer Trading. He acted as treasurer for the Little Missouri Lutheran Church board for many years. He found his calling in life when he was hired as the Therapist at Sky Ranch, and later as Counselor for the Harding County Schools.
He enjoyed hunting, exploring new areas on his side by side, reading anything and everything, his various collections and projects, and morning walks with his yellow lab, Jenna. He was an avid history buff, especially local and family history, and was one of the go-to people for history in the area. It wasn’t uncommon for him to spend hours researching family history for someone who was sent to him by a mutual acquaintance. His true passion was following “his” kids in all their activities. While that was most obvious at Harding County Sports events, it went far beyond that. He put on more miles than we could ever imagine traveling to events for any kids he felt needed the support, or a team he had read about and wanted to see.
Gene is survived by his son Chancey (Meghan) of Capitol, MT, sisters Carol (Robert) Smith of Freeman, SD, Kathy (Frank) Loehding of Sidney, MT, brothers Michael (Elizabeth) Odell of Clearwater, NE, Steve Odell of Sturgis, SD, sister-in-law Karen Odell of Camp Crook, SD father-in-law Wallace Owens of White Sulphur Springs, MT, sisters-in-law Nora (Barry) Bergan of White Sulphur Springs, MT and Donna (Steve) Mattson of Fishtail, MT, and numerous other friends and relatives.
He was preceded in death by his wife Carol, son Trevor, parents Melvin and Lollie, nephew Danny, brother Charles, mothers-in-law Marie Owens, and Colleen Owens, paternal and maternal grandparents, and numerous aunts, uncles, and cousins.
In lieu of flowers, the family suggests memorials to a youth service organization of your choosing or the Camp Crook Area Community Center, 203 Main St., Camp Crook, SD 57724.