C.K. Odor, head of Columbia Housing Authority in '60s, dies

Sunday, May 18, 2008 | 10:48 p.m. CDT; updated 8:30 a.m. CDT, Tuesday, July 22, 2008

COLUMBIA — Carlyle Kurtz “C.K.” Odor Jr., who served as executive director of the Columbia Housing Authority when it built Oak Towers, the J.W. “Blind” Boone Center and Paquin Tower, died Thursday, May 15, 2008, at Truman Veterans Hospital. He was 85.

Mr. Odor had battled lymphoma cancer for nine years.

He was born March 28, 1923, in Daytona Beach, Fla., to Carlyle Kurtz Odor Sr. and Crystal Elizabeth Ford Odor.

A longtime resident of Columbia, Mr. Odor was a member of the first graduating class of Lee Elementary School. He graduated in 1941 from Hickman High School, where he was a varsity letterman in track, a tennis conference champion and a member of National Honor Society.

He went on to MU and joined Sigma Nu and the Army ROTC. However, because he served in the military during World War II, Mr. Odor didn’t graduate until 1948, earning a bachelor’s degree in business administration. He played intramural tennis and won the campus championship. He was a member and president of Alpha Phi Omega Service Fraternity and a member of Blue Key Omicron Delta Kappa.

Mr. Odor’s family described him as someone who was very social and had lots of friends. Odor’s son, Clark, said he was a very loyal friend; he was still good friends with many people he knew from high school and college.

His daughter Cynthia Blosser said Mr. Odor was also a naturalist who loved to bird-watch wherever he traveled.

“He was a lifelong bird-watching advocate and conservationist supporter, and he went all over the United States bird-watching,” Clark Odor said. “His favorite place to bird-watch was Eagle Bluffs.”

Mr. Odor married Minnie Malcolm Sheppard of Columbia on Dec. 1, 1944, at First Christian Church. They had five children.

Mr. Odor was inducted into the Army as a private in June 1943. He finished Officers Candidate School and became a second lieutenant in November 1944. As a member of the 25th Infantry Division, he was sent to the Philippines, where he earned a Bronze Star.

After the war was over, he was stationed in Osaka, Japan, where he was promoted to first lieutenant. He served as a trial judge advocate in the 25th Division Occupation Court.

By 1951, Mr. Odor was promoted to captain and was serving in the Officers’ Reserve Corps when he was recalled to active duty. He served in Stuttgart, Germany, until April 1952. He resigned from the National Guard in September 1952.

Mr. Odor worked for his father’s construction company and in several sales jobs in building materials and housing. He went to work for the city of Columbia in 1957 in the Land Clearance for Redevelopment Authority and the Housing Authority. He advanced to executive director of the housing authority in 1962. In addition to Paquin, Oak Towers and the center, the Douglass School Urban Renewal Project was completed during his time at the authority.

“He was most proud of getting the Paquin Tower built,” Clark Odor said.

In the late 1960s, Mr. Odor went to work for the state during Gov. Warren Hearnes’ administration. His job was to help communities plan public housing projects; 125 city housing authorities were started.

From 1973 to 1977, Mr. Odor was a Realtor for the Roy Willey Realtor Group. He was a member of the Housing Authority Board for the city at that time.

He became executive director of Moberly’s Housing Authority in November 1977. He led the authority in modernizing all public housing apartments and in building a 68-unit low-rise apartment building for the elderly, the Head Start building and the senior citizens’ building. When a tornado hit downtown Moberly, he supervised reconstruction.

“He wanted adequate housing for all people,” Blosser said. “He made sure there were opportunities for low-income housing all across the state of Missouri.”

Mr. Odor retired in November 1995.

He belonged to the National Association of Housing and Redevelopment Officials, serving as president of the Missouri chapter from 1964 to 1966 and honored as member of the year in 1994. He was presented with the Charles L. Farris award at the Southwest Regional Council in 1997 for 36 years of improving the quality of life in the state of Missouri.

“He was a mentor to a number of colleagues in his profession,” Blosser said.

Mr. Odor supported the Boy Scouts for many years. He earned his Eagle designation with Silver Palm in 1940. He became scoutmaster of Troop No. 9 at the Baptist Church, serving for 15 years. He was a member of the Great Rivers Council Chapter National Eagle Scout Association.

Mr. Odor was state director of the Jaycees. He joined the Kiwanis Club in 1966. Other memberships included the American Legion and Veterans of Foreign Wars, the Hickman High School Alumni Group and the Rusty Zipper Men’s Club. The club is an informal group of men who have been meeting for coffee six days a week, for over 40 years.

He was a member of the First Christian Church and its historical committee.

Mr. Odor had many hobbies and interests: racing and raising homing pigeons, bird-watching, traveling, MU sports, poker, tennis, stamp collecting and genealogy.

“My favorite memory with him was canoeing and fishing with him at Witch Bay on Lake of the Woods,” Clark Odor said.

He is survived by four daughters, Christina Wilde of Pensacola, Fla., Cynthia Blosser of Jefferson City, Catherine Stilec-Stevenson of Steamboat Springs, Colo., and Liz Embree of Barefoot Bay, Fla.; two sons, Clark Odor of Germantown, Tenn., and Cliff Odor of Columbia; one brother, Richard Odor of Kansas City; two ex-wives, Minnie Malcolm Odor of Columbia and Judith Anne Ragains; traveling and bird-watching companion Rose Ann Bodman of St. Louis; 15 grandchildren; and four great-grandchildren.

One brother, Raymond Odor, and one son-in-law, Charles Stilec, died earlier.

Visitation will be from 10 to 11 a.m. Tuesday at First Christian Church, 101 N. Tenth St. Services with military honors will be at 11 a.m. Tuesday at the church. Interment will follow at Memorial Cemetery, 1217 Business Loop 70 W.

In lieu of flowers, memorial contributions may be made to First Christian Church, 101 N. Tenth St. Columbia, MO 65201. Sympathy notes may be e-mailed to

Missourian reporters Daniel Shar and Jessi Wood contributed to this report.

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