John Seymour O'Dell
In Memory of
John Seymour
1940 - 2017
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W S Davis Funeral Home
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Obituary for John Seymour O'Dell

John Seymour O’Dell, formerly of Chaffee, New York, died August 1, 2017, at The Chaplaincy Hospice House in Kennewick, Washington, at the age of 76, from complications related to Lewy Body Dementia.

Born on November 6, 1940 in Buffalo, New York, to L. Dwight (L.D.) and Ruth O’Dell, John was raised on Allen Road in Chaffee, New York, near the family’s dairy farm on Savage Road. He was active in sports and chorus at Arcade Central High School. He graduated in 1959. After attending Bucknell University in Lewisburg, Pennsylvania, he transferred to the University of Montana in Missoula, Montana, where he received his B.A. in Biological Science in 1964 and was a member of the Lambda Chapter of Phi Sigma Society, a national honor society promoting academic achievement and research in the biological sciences.

Following graduation, John lived in Nikiski, Alaska, for forty-seven years, working in various capacities in oilfield construction, exploration, production, and maintenance. Prior to final retirement in 2009, he spent more than a decade as an oilfield, electrical power generation equipment, and troubleshooting consultant, as well as a project management consultant. His hobbies included hunting and fishing, travel, hiking, astronomy, particle physics, working on home renovation and/or improvement projects, reading, and studying the world of investments.

John is survived by one daughter, Donita Ruth O’Dell (“my little girl”), her husband Justin Stewart, and their infant daughter Merit Ferne O’Dell Stewart, who was born four weeks to the day preceding John’s death and whom he had the blessed gift of holding in his arms during his final days (Ketchikan, Alaska); his stepchildren Deb McDonald (Berwick, Maine), Danae Powell (Richland, Washington) and Dan Lincoln (Hayden, Idaho); his siblings L. Dwight (Jack) O’Dell, Jr. (Gaithersburg, Maryland), Nancy Drake (San Ramon, California), and Kathy O’Dell (Catonsville, Maryland); his 100-year-old Aunt Martha (O’Dell) Schiedel (Cabot, Pennsylvania); and a bountiful number of loving cousins, nieces, nephews, and grand-nieces and -nephews. Preceding John in death were his former wife Elaine (McGahan) O’Dell (Kenai, Alaska) in 2015, and his sister Patricia (O’Dell) Landphair (Arcade, New York) in 2009.

John was known as a man of intellectual curiosity, bold adventure, utmost grace, and deep kindness. His sparkling eyes, broad smile, and booming laugh will be remembered always.

Viewings will be held at W.S. Davis Funeral Home, 358 West Main Street, Arcade, New York, on Friday, August 18, 2017, 2-4 PM and 6-8 PM. The funeral service will be the next day, Saturday, August 19, 11 AM, at Chaffee Community Baptist Church, 13510 Grove St, Chaffee, New York, followed by interment at the O’Dell family site at the Sardinia Rural Cemetery, and then a meal back at the church to which all family and friends are welcome. Also, a celebration of life will be held this fall in Kenai, Alaska (location and date TBD). For funeral and/or celebration questions, please email:

In addition to, or in lieu of flowers (John preferred the enduring quality of potted plants), memorial contributions may be made to The Lewy Body Dementia Association (

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