Dr. Patrick L. Odell

It is with great sadness that the family of Dr. Patrick L. Odell announce his passing on May 23, 2020 in Waco, TX. He was 89 years old. His family was at his bedside when he passed.

Service Information: There will be a celebration of Patrick’s life with his relatives and friends at a later date.

Patrick was born in Watonga, Oklahoma on November 29, 1930 in the same house his mother and older sister were born. He is the eldest son of Max V. Odell and Pamela A. (Massey) Odell who were born in Oklahoma prior to statehood. He was preceded in death by his parents and siblings Georgia (Odell) Horne; McLindley Odell; and Martha (Odell) Butler.

Patrick graduated from Watonga High School in 1948 and was the Valedictorian. He attended Oklahoma City University (OCU), 1948-49; the University of Texas at Austin (UT) from 1948-52. While a student at UT Austin, he was a member of the Cross-Country team and earnedaBachelor’sdegree in Education. He later attendedthe University of California at Los Angeles (UCLA),1957-58; the University of New Mexico (UNM), 1958-60; and Oklahoma State University (OSU), 1958-62 ultimately earning a Doctorate in Mathematical Sciences while at OSU.
Professionally Patrick is best known as a mathematical statistician who promoted graduate education in the mathematical sciences. His research includes applied mathematics in space science, engineering, and mathematics education. He worked on various research projects for the military, NSF, NASA, the State of Texas and other parties.

In 1952, Patrick worked for the US Army at the White Sands Proving Grounds. In 1953, he received a commission as a second lieutenant in the US Air Force and became a meteorologist. He served three years, two as a meteorologist and one assigned to US Army Intelligence in Europe. He earned the rank of Captain before leaving the Air Force.

In 1958, he joined the Kaman Nuclear Research group and Navy Nuclear Weapons Evaluation Facility in New Mexico where he evaluated methods for testing nuclear weapons. In 1962 he was appointed as an Assistant Professor of Mathematics at the University of Texas at Austin. During his time at UT, he conducted research for NASA Johnson Space Center. In 1966, he became Chair of the Mathematics Department at Texas Tech University. In 1972, he became a Professor of Mathematics at the University of Texas at Dallas (UTD) and served as the first Dean of Graduate Studies. In 1988 he retired from UTD and joined the faculty at Baylor University. He retired from Baylor in 2001.

Family was an important part of Patrick’s life. In 1958, he married Norma Lou Maddox from Ponca City, Oklahoma, who passed away in 1980. Their marriage resulted in six children, James Odell, Killeen, TX; David Odell (1959-2018), Plano, TX; Michael Odell, Dallas, TX; Julie Odell, College Station, TX; Patricia (Odell) Kimray; Virginia Beach, VA; and Deborah (Odell) Johnson, Tyler, TX. In 1985, he married fellow mathematician, Dovalee Dorsett, who passed away in December 2019. She brought two additional children to the family, Kathryn(McElroy)Mier, Bothell, WA; and Tracy McElroy, Georgetown, TX. Currently there are 15 grandchildren and 3 great-grandchildren spread across the states of Colorado, Idaho, Texas, Virginia, andWashington state.

Patrick always enjoyed giving to his family, friends, and others in need. He will be sorely missed by his family, relatives, and his many close friends. Memorials may be made to the charity of your choice.

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Condolence Messages

  1. Janet Wallace

    Am so sorry to lose Pat. He was a wonderful friend and had the quirkiest sense of humor. He will be sorely missed by the Starbucks coffee group. Rest in
    Peace, Pat!
    Your Red River Friend,
    Janet Wallace

  2. Thomas Spitzer-Hanks

    Pat was a delight. I met him as a young child and stayed in touch some as I grew into an adult. I will always remember his sly humor and general enjoyment of life and of other people. I wish I could hear some of his stories again right now. A deeply good man who will be missed by many.

  3. Uncle Pat was always so thoughtful. After my mother’s passing (Martha) he always called and checked in on all of us kids at least once a month. You might only get 2 minutes with him, but it meant so much.
    Already miss you Uncle Pat!
    Julie Butler

  4. I’m so sorry for your loss. I’m grateful to have known Pat. Always with a knowing twinkle in his eye and a smile across his lips… with that ever present number 2 pencil in one hand and a yellow tablet in the other: that’s how I will remember him. Wise in the uses of duct tape, among his many gifts! [And there were many.] A brilliant… yet humble man; a family man. He had a great big heart & a sense of humor to match it. He was undoubtedly the GREATEST “Pop”!

    Pop… it was an honor to know you & be a part of the family for a while. Would LOVE to sit in on your conversations with God!! ;- ) Rest in HIS Peace, Pop. You done good.

  5. I send my sincere condolences and prayers to the family of Dr. Odell. I met him many years ago at the local pharmacy that I managed for 22 years. We quickly developed a friendship that lasted until his death. We talked about his many projects as well as our experiences in track, his at the University of Texas and mine at Baylor. We kidded and joked about growing up in small towns, he in Oklahoma and myself in west Texas. I will miss his presence and his friendship, but I will cherish his memory.

  6. Thomas Atchison

    Elizabeth and I will miss Pat. He was a good friend and colleague. I will always remember our many conversations and I always valued his advice. He was an important part of our lives both personally and professionally. We have lost a dear friend.

  7. Dr. O’Dell and Dovalee were two of my favorite professors and people. They were my mentors and advisors and advocates. They were kind, encouraging, and generous of spirit. Pat O’Dell was the man who convinced me I could do graduate work, and the man who understood when I chose a career outside of academia. They were the ones who accepted me back 10 years later to finish my dissertation. I loved these two. I admired their love, their family, and their marriage. Pat O’Dell was a wonderful father and spoke with such pride of all his children.
    How lucky I was to have known them both for 30 years.

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