Joseph J. Odehnal Sr., 86 / Oct. 3, 1923 – March 6, 2010Published 9:57am Wednesday, March 10, 2010
Joseph J. Odehnal Sr., 86, formerly of Niles-Buchanan Rd., Niles died at 12:57 p.m. Saturday, March 6, 2010 at Hazel I. Findlay Country Manor, Saint Johns, Mich. following a brief illness.
He was born Oct. 2, 1923 in Berwyn, Ill. to Joseph J. and Elsie (Hruby) Odehnal Sr. and graduated from Morton High School, Chicago. He was a veteran of World War II, having enlisted in the United States Navy while a student at the Illinois Institute of Technology, Chicago. He was commissioned as an ensign, and then following his tour of duty, returned to IIT to each both bachelor of science and master of science degrees in electrical engineering.
On Jan. 14, 1946 in Brunswick, Maine he married the former Marcella Y. “Marcy” Gresko. They came to Niles in 1949, and he was employed at National-Standard for 42 years.
They were members of Saint Mary Catholic Church, Niles, where Joe served as a Cub Scoutmaster, on the Home School Council, as an usher and in the choir. He also sang with the Diocese of Kalamazoo Choir, including a performance for the Pope in 1993, and sang with the Southwest Michigan Community Choir, the Michiana Male Choir and the Tyler Bluenotes.
Joe served the National Association for Exceptional Citizens as treasurer; served on the board of Gateway Industries for 18 years; and was a member of the Niles Civitan Club, Niles City Club, Junior Chamber of Commerce and Niles-Buchanan YMCA; and volunteered at Meals on Wheels.
His interest in nature included membership at Fernwood Botanical Gardens; participation in the Southwest Michigan Birdathon; watching birds in Costa Rica and Newfoundland; and nurturing hybrid fern and tree seedlings in his yard.
Joe and Marcy also enjoyed memberships in the Niles Dance Club, Orchard Hills Country Club, the Economic Club of Southwest Michigan and the Broadway Theater League of South Bend.
Joe and Marcy celebrated 63 years of marriage before Marcy died March 9, 2009, nearly one year to the day preceding Joe. He was also preceded in death by a brother, Richard.
Surviving are his children, Joseph (Joan) Odehnal Jr. of Kalamazoo, Mary K. (Tony) Mitchell of Saint John’s, David (Ann) Odehnal of Richmond, Va., Deborah (David) Brumfield of Akron, Ohio, Marcia (John) Savoie of Edwardsville, Ill. and Michelle Odehnal of Kalamazoo; 18 grandchildren; 12 great-grandchildren; Joe’s sister, Gladys (Tony) Soucek of Brookfield, Ill; and a sister-in-law, Ethel (Richard) Odehnal of Monticello, Wis.
The Mass of Christian Burial for Joe Odehnal will be celebrated at 11 a.m. Saturday, March 13, 2010 at Saint Mary Catholic Church by the Rev. David Otto, with the Rev. William Melody of Notre Dame co-celebrating.
Committal rites will follow at Calvary Cemetery, Niles with will conclude with full military honors by the U.S. Navy Great Lakes District Honors Unit and American Legion Post 26, Niles.
The family will receive relatives and friends from 6 to 8 p.m. Friday at Halbritter Funeral Home, Niles with recitation of the Rosary at 7:45 p.m.
Contributions in memory of Joe Odehnal may be made to the Christian Service Center of Saint Mary Church or to Gateway Industries.