Dr. Boyd L. O’Dell of Columbia died April 21, 2019, at the age of 102 at the Arbors of Bluff Creek Terrace.
Boyd was born Oct. 14, 1916, near Hale, Missouri, the son of Orvis and Flossie Hoover O’Dell. He married Vera Stone on Dec. 2, 1944, in Detroit, Michigan, and they had a son and a daughter.
His life’s work was devoted to teaching and research in biochemistry. His education started in a one-room rural Missouri school and ended with a doctoral degree earned from the University of Missouri.
After graduation from MU, he spent four years employed as a research chemist at Parke, Davis and Co. in Detroit. He was then invited to join the Department of Agricultural Chemistry, now Biochemistry, at the University of Missouri-Columbia.
During his career, he taught courses in biochemistry and researched the role of trace elements copper and zinc in nutrition as well as folic acid, phosphorus, calcium, magnesium, potassium and dietary fiber.
He was a member of several professional societies, including the American Society of Biochemistry and the American Institute of Nutrition, a national society for which he served as president. His research was recognized with several awards, including the Borden Award and the Spencer Award.
Dr. O’Dell retired in 1987 but, as a professor emeritus, continued to do research related to the biochemical role of zinc until as recently as 2016. For eight years after formal retirement, he served as the executive secretary of the UM Research Board.
Dr. O’Dell enjoyed traveling the world with his wife, Vera. He was an avid environmentalist and enjoyed camping and hiking.
He was preceded in death by his wife and his brother, Kenneth. He is survived by his daughter, Ann O’Dell of Columbia; and his son, David O’Dell of Walnut Creek, California; as well as four grandchildren and two great grandsons.
At the request of Dr. O’Dell, there will be no public services.
Suggestions for memorial donations include the O’Dell Graduate Fellowships in Biochemistry at the University of Missouri-Columbia, Peaceworks in Columbia and the Nature Conservancy.
Arrangements are under the direction of Parker-Millard Funeral Service and Crematory; 12 E. Ash St., Columbia, Missouri, 65203; (573) 573-449-4153.
Condolences may be left online for the family at www.ParkerMillard.com.