Carol Odor was the rock of her family, Columbia dance community

Wednesday, January 1, 2014 | 5:33 p.m. CST; updated 5:25 p.m. CST, Saturday, January 4, 2014

COLUMBIA — The dance students Carol Odor worked with — it didn't matter how often, they were all "Carol's dancers" — remember how much she expected from them.

If you missed a step, one of her students Kurt Mirtsching said, she would give you a look, raise her eyebrows and call you "a broken legged chicken."

But it was all in good fun, he said. "She really helped those of us that didn't know a lick about dancing to not make fools of ourselves."

Carol Ann French Odor died Thursday, Dec. 26, 2013, at her home in Columbia. She was 74.

She was born Feb. 22, 1939, in Beckley, W.Va., to Robert and Mildred (Crotty) French.

She graduated with honors from West Virginia University in 1961 with a bachelor's degree in health and physical education. She was a freshman cheerleader, and she was a member of the Modern Dance Club and the Alpha Phi Sorority. She graduated from the University of Tennessee, Knoxville, in 1962 with a Master of Science degree in physical education and dance.

She began to teach dance classes at MU in 1962. By the time she retired in 1995, she was working as an assistant professor and the head of the university's dance program. Mrs. Odor taught jazz, tap, ballroom, country-western and modern dance for 33 years. She directed and choreographed many MU dance productions and state dance conventions.

She met Raymond W. Odor, a high school teacher and coach, during her first year at MU. They got married on Aug. 1, 1963.

Over 27 years, she choreographed 55 performances for the Maplewood Barn Community Theatre, Hickman High School and the Columbia Entertainment Company.

Mrs. Odor had a knack for transforming nondancers, said Judy Olson, who worked with Mrs. Odor at the Columbia Entertainment Company.

"She just had such a strong talent for listening to music and putting dances to it," Olson said. "It was just amazing. She would see movement and see dance differently than the rest of us."

"She was always there for us when we were kids," Robert Odor, a son, said. "She came to all of our sporting events."

She was the rock of her family, Robert Odor said. He remembers their family vacationed every summer in Cape Cod, Mass. They would build bonfires and play on the beach, he said.

Mrs. Odor is survived by three sons, Robert Odor and Rick Odor, both of Columbia, and Ray Odor Jr. of Tulsa, Okla.; a grandson, Grant, of Tulsa, Okla.; two sisters, Mary Krisch of San Antonio, Texas, and Linda Howell and her husband, Tom, of Harbinger, N.C.

Her parents, Robert and Mildred (Crotty) French; her husband, Raymond W. Odor; two brothers-in-law, Gerry Krisch and C. K. Odor; a sister-in-law, Malcolm Odor; two nephews, Cliff Odor and Charlie Stilec; and a great-nephew Jonathan Horsch died earlier.

There are no services planned at this time.

Memorial contributions can be made to the Central Missouri Humane Society, 616 Big Bear Blvd., Columbia, MO 65202.

Condolences can be posted at


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