Dr. Raymond Lee Odle, “Ray”, 87, departed this earthly life Sunday, February 24, 2019 at the Veterans Affairs Community Living Center in Marion, Illinois.
Ray was born April 2, 1931 in West Frankfort to Charles and Edith (Lawrence) Odle. He was united in marriage to Mildred Peebles on October 14, 1951 at the Baptist Foundation at SIU in Carbondale. Mildred preceded him in death on December 15, 2018, giving them 67 years together. Ray graduated from West Frankfort High School in 1949, received his B.S. degree in Chemistry from Southern Illinois University in 1952 and attended a year at Wake Forest Baptist Seminary. Before graduating from University of Illinois dental school in 1967 he worked as a chemist for Illinois Division of Highways (and Glidden Paint Company). Ray proudly served his country from 1955 – 1957 in the U.S. Army. His first year, he served in the artillery and second year he served in the chemical corps.
During his 35 years of general dental practice in Rockford, Yemen and Marion, he was known as an affordable, gentle and caring dentist. He and his wife served in over 35 volunteer dental mission trips to third world countries, mainly in Central and South America. From 1974 until 1977 he and wife served as full time medical missionaries in Yemen Arab Republic. During that time, he was the only western trained dentist in the country. He was a board member of the Illinois State Dental society and a delegate to the American Dental Association. After retiring from practice, he served as ship’s dentist with Holland America on cruises to Alaska, the Caribbean and Antarctica. For two years he did preventive dentistry in Southern Illinois schools with Miles of Smiles. He also did volunteer dentistry with Hands of Hope clinic in Marion, Illinois until health issues brought complete retirement.
Ray was always active in his local church–teaching, singing in the choir and serving as deacon. He loved to study the Bible. As an ordained minister he was a lay pastor in churches in northern Illinois and for Christian ex-patriots in Yemen. He served on national and state Baptist boards. An active member of the Baptist Medical Dental Fellowship, he also served a year as president of the group. Wherever God led, he ministered and witnessed to people.
Ray had many interests. He was active in Boy Scouts as a youth, earning the status of Eagle Scout, and later he became a camp inspector. He enjoyed traveling, photography, singing with choral groups, square dancing, scuba diving, hosting International students from SIU, reading and hiking. Ray loved taking his grandkids for hikes around Southern Illinois and showing them special places. Ray was an animal lover and always had his faithful dog companion Casper at his side. He planned and built their retirement home in the woods. He enjoyed driving the tractor, walking through the woods and taking care of the place. However, he spent most of his time on the deck reading a book with his dog and enjoying the beautiful view.
Raymond is survived by brother, Harold (Shirley) Odle of West Frankfort, IL; sister-in-law, Ethel Odle of Bradley, IL; sister-in-law, Winifred Bauman of West Lafayette, IN; son, Phillip (Sandy) Odle of Marion, IL; daughter, Cheryl Odle of Goreville, IL; daughter, Ellen (Ron) Bussert of Bixby, OK; eight grandchildren, including Rebecca, Elijah, and Phoenix Odle of Marion; Sarah Odle of Hoboken, NJ; Luke (Amy) Clendenin of Geneseo, IL; Kerry (Andrew) Mason of Corydon, IA; Jack (Meagan) Bussert of Bloomington, IN; Paul (Anna) Bussert of Bixby, OK; great grandsons, Logan and Jackson Clendenin of Geneseo, IL; great grandsons, Nathaniel and Max Mason of Corydon, IA; great granddaughter, Piper Mason of Corydon, IA; five nephews; and two nieces.
Raymond was preceded in death by his wife Mildred, his parents Charles and Edith Odle; brother, Kenneth Odle; and one nephew.
Thank you for all the special care from Patti Martin and the Marion VA Blue Clinic and the VA Community Living Center staff and medical team.
A Celebration of Life Service will be held at First Baptist Church Anna, IL, on March 2, 2019, at 11:00AM, with a visitation starting at 10:00AM. His remains will be interred at East Fork Cemetery in West Frankfort, IL, at a later date. Blue Funeral Home in Marion is assisting the family with arrangements.
In Lieu of flowers, the family requests for memorials to be made to the Baptist Medical Dental Fellowship and will be accepted at the funeral home.