He probably provided thousands with glasses’

Published 12:00 am Tuesday, August 3, 2004

[8/3/04]Robert Charles Odom Sr., who founded an optical firm that served this region for decades, died Monday, Aug. 2, 2004, at River Region Medical Center. He was 91.

Besides his career as an optician, Mr. Odom was known for teaching Bible classes at church, his love of people and golf.

“I will remember him as a gentleman of the old school,” said Randy Sherard, a friend. “He was kind and gracious one of the few old-timey Southern gentleman. And there are very few of those left.”

Email newsletter signup

Sign up for The Vicksburg Post's free newsletters

Check which newsletters you would like to receive
  • Vicksburg News: Sent daily at 5 am
  • Vicksburg Sports: Sent daily at 10 am
  • Vicksburg Living: Sent on 15th of each month

Mr. Odom began his career in 1931 with American Optical Co. in Jackson, where he later became assistant manager. In 1942, he transferred to Vicksburg where he was in charge of American Optical’s office and laboratory. He founded Odom’s Dispensing Opticians in 1948 and, with his brother Joe, opened Odom’s Dispensing Opticians of Jackson in 1962.

“He probably provided thousands of people with glasses,” Sherard said. “I know he did the Sherard family.”

Other friends remember Odom as a good friend with a good attitude.

“Bob was a real good sport,” said his longtime friend John Anderson. “He loved his golf, fishing and some hunting. He loved his place up at Eagle Lake.”

Odom played golf with the late John Stahl.

“He was himself up until the very end,” said Shirlye Stahl, a friend of Odom’s for more than 50 years. “He loved people. He always acted like he was running for office.”

Another longtime friend, Chuck Conditt of Greenwood, called Odom his “second daddy.”

“He was a great guy with a great sense of humor,” said Conditt, who played golf with Odom and Odom’s son Clifton Odom for 25 years.

Odom Optical in Vicksburg was located on Clay Street near Washington, then on Mission 66 and finally in Memorial Plaza before closing when Mr. Odom retired.

Mr. Odom was involved in various civic organizations, having served as president of the Junior Chamber of Commerce, Shrine Club and Elks Club. He served as president of Mississippi State Dispensing Opticians and the Southeastern Society of Dispensing Opticians. He was vice president of the National Society of Dispensing Opticians and president of the National Association of Dispensing Opticians. He was voted one of the 10 Outstanding Young Businessmen of Mississippi.

He was a member of Crawford Street United Methodist Church, where he was in the Men’s Bible Class.

He was preceded in death by his wife, Idamae Ellzey Odom, and four brothers, A.H. Odom, W.E. Odom, R.H. Odom Jr. and Joseph C. Odom.

Survivors include three sons, Robert C. “Bobby” Odom Jr. of Vicksburg, Joseph Frank Odom of Ridgeland and Clifton Ellzey Odom of Monroe, La.; five grandchildren; two great-granddaughters; and two great-grandsons.

Services will be at 2 p.m. Wednesday at Riles Funeral Home with the Rev. Geoffrey Joyner, pastor of Crawford Street United Methodist Church, officiating. Private burial will be at Green Acres Memorial Park.

Visitation will be from 1 p.m. Wednesday until the service at the funeral home.

Pallbearers will be John Anderson, Beau Stahl, Leo Boolos Jr., Bobby Robinson, Randy Sherard, Tom Rye Wilson and Charles A. Conditt III.

Honorary pallbearers will be Dr. Paul Pierce III, Shirley Stahl, Donnie Andrews, Laura and Bobby Fleming and members of the Men’s Bible Class at Crawford Street United Methodist Church.

Memorials may be made to Crawford Street United Methodist Church, 1408 Cherry St., Vicksburg, MS 39180.