James B. Odom

James B. Odom, USAF (Retired)

June 10, 1930 – December 3, 2018

A service for James B. Odom, 88, of Lufkin, will be held at 10:00 a.m. Monday, December 10, at the Gipson Funeral Home Chapel with Pastors Mark Newton and Bob Klund officiating. A graveside service at Hillcrest Cemetery will follow.

Mr. Odom was born June 10, 1930 in Saron, Texas, the son of the late Elizabeth (Glover) and James T. Odom. He passed away Monday, December 3, 2018 in his home in Georgetown, Texas. He was preceded in death by his sister and brother-in-law Jerry (Odom) and W.C. Jones II of Littleton, North Carolina; nephews Jimmy Jones and Richard Jones of Littleton, North Carolina, and Ken Jones of Lufkin.

Mr. Odom was a loving and devoted husband, father, and grandfather. His infectious optimism spearheaded many of his endeavors and touched everyone who knew him. James was a brilliant engineer, often sought out for his deductive and problem-solving abilities. He was an avid hunter most of his life, joining his father, relatives, and friends on numerous stateside hunts. James frequently assisted his father at Odom’s Gun Shop of Lufkin. After graduating Lufkin High School in 1947, he attended Kilgore Junior College and the University of Houston, studying architectural engineering.

James enlisted in the United States Air Force in 1951, receiving basic airman, mechanic, aviation cadet, and advanced flight training. His USAF career began with mechanic training at Parks Air College in East St. Louis, Illinois, his first station in San Marcus as an AEE mechanic on the Bell 413 Helicopter. He began cadet training six months later at Malden Air Force Base, Missouri. After advanced flight training at Luke Air Force Base in Arizona he was stationed at Chunchon Air Force Base as second lieutenant and forward controller in South Korea in 1953. He flew F-86D and F86L Fighter jets in the Air Defense Command at McGuire Air Force base in New Jersey. James retired as captain in 1959 after eight and one-half years of service in USAF.

He flew as chief corporate pilot for Southland Paper Mills, Inc. and St. Regis Paper Company from 1965 until its acquisition by Champion International Corporation in 1980. He continued working as a mill engineer for Champion until his retirement in 1993.

James served as a member and mentor of EAA 1219 Young Eagles of Lufkin and on advisory boards at Angelina County Airport (1966-2010) and Angelina Water District. He was a member of the Barnabas Sunday school class at First Baptist Church of Lufkin and Believers’ Bible Church men’s prayer breakfast. In his later years, Jim raised and released a baby owl, Hootie, and enjoyed the company of his English Goldendoodle, Kate. He built two experimental aircraft (RV-6, RV-7a) and continued flying until two years before his death, logging 13,561 flight hours.

Survivors include his wife, Sally (Hubbard) Odom; daughter and son-in-law, Julie (Odom) Rogers and Dr. James Rogers of Georgetown, Texas; grandson, Seth Rogers; aunt, Omadee Bush of McAllen, Texas; nephew, W.C. Jones III and wife Holly of Littleton, North Carolina; nephew, Tommy Jones and wife Beth of Baltimore, Maryland; cousins, Pat Massingill of Lufkin, Jeff, Joey, and Jessica Southern of Lufkin, Doug, John David, and Jamison Southern of Lufkin, Jake and Elisa Southern of Lufkin, Patsy Head of Lufkin, Joe, Dori, Samuel, Lauren, and Tommy Joe Head of Dallas, Nan and Don Davis of Sherman, Stacy (Massingill) Rundle and Bob Rundle of Missouri City, Laura (Massingill) Maddox and Walter Maddox of Jasper.

Memorial contributions in James’ memory may be made to First Baptist Church Lufkin, 106 E. Bremond, Lufkin, TX 75901. Condolences may be offered at www.gipsonfuneralhome.com Services have been placed in the trust of Gipson Funeral Home.

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