|Tom O'Dell dead at 93|
Well known former Cocke County Sheriff and politician Tom O’Dell, died Wednesday, at the age of 93. The family will receive friends from 4:00 p.m. to 7:00 p.m., today with funeral services led by Rev. Scott Gorrell to follow at 7:00 pm in the Manes Funeral Home Chapel in Newport. Burial will be at 2:00 pm Friday in Union Cemetery. Tom was a true Republican who began his political career after serving his country in 1946-1947. His first position was as a Fish and Game Commissioner in 1947 for Upper East, Tennessee. He served as Road Commissioner, Road Superintendent, Sheriff for four terms and then again elected Road Superintendent a second time. At the time of his death, O'Dell was a charter member of the Newport Rescue Squad. He never lost an election and served our wonderful Cocke County for 40 years. Former Cocke County Sheriff D.C. Ramsey was a long time friend of O'Dell, and was a constable at the time O'Dell held the office of sheriff. "Tom and I were friends all of my life. He was the most kind person I have ever known. He was big-hearted, always wanting to give someone something or do something for them, and he didn't want nothing in return. He was just a big hearted man and one of my best friends," says Ramsey. During O'Dell's tenure as sheriff, some churches in the community had the practice of handling poisonous snakes during services. There were reports that on one occasion the sheriff shot and killed snakes that had been brought to the courthouse lawn for a church service. "Yes that happened, but I don't think there were very many (snakes)," relates Ramsey. "He had asked them to remove them but they didn't want to, so he about had to shot them. He didn't want to, but he did." O'Dell was an avid Tennessee Vol fan having followed the Vol’s since 1939. “Dad, we will miss you terribly”. Tom was preceded in death by his parents, J. B. O’Dell, Sr. and Rillie O’Dell of Newport; brothers and sisters, Mary Murr, Ellie Shropshire, William O’Dell, Bonnie Spradling, J. B. O’Dell. Jr., Mamie Cobb, Harding O’Dell, Sam O’Dell, Pearl Gray and his precious awesome wife of 61 years…Ruth Perrin O’Dell. Tom is survived by his daughter and son –in-law, Joy and Steve Large; daughter and fiancé, Susie O’Dell and Lewis Everhart; daughter and son-in-law, Patricia and Eric Ellison, son and daughter-in-law, Jabo and Tammy Francis; grandchildren and their wives, Jeff and Tracy Large; Andy and Amy Austin, and Emily Ellison; great-grandchildren, Landan Large and Alexa Austin; sister, Bessie Justus. Tom is also survived by his best forever friend, Bobby Sawyer; and his true love, Margaret Blazer; also his nieces, nephews, and a huge number of genuine friends, who will miss him terribly. It was a true honor for our Dad to serve and protect the people of Cocke County for 93 years. Special “Thanks” to Dr. David McConnell, Dr. Russell Huntsinger, Tammy Francis and Smoky Mountain Home Health and Hospice. In lieu of flowers the family requests that donations be made to Providence Church, 2263 Cosby Hwy, Newport, TN 37821, Alzheimer’s of Tennessee in care of Alexa Austin, 363 East Main Street, Newport, TN, 37821, or Celebration of Life P. O. Box 263, Newport, TN 37821. Family and friends may sign the guest register on line at: www.manesfuneralhome.com. Arrangements by Manes Funeral Home.