Sammy R. O’Dell, 67, of Amarillo, Texas, passed away Thurs., Nov. 5, 2020. Sammy was born in Shelby, NC, Dec. 31, 1952 to Ernest Wade O’Dell and Macie Christine McDonald O’Dell. Sammy grew up in the Appalachian Mountains of western North Carolina in Murphy. His father died when he was five. He always had compassion and understanding for the widows and fatherless. His kind, Christian mother worked long hours to provide for her two sons and widowed mother. Church attendance, piano lessons and saving for college education were priorities. At age 12, Sammy climbed a nearby hill to pray and dedicated his life to God to be used as the Lord would lead him.
After graduation from Murphy High School in 1971, Sammy enrolled at Ambassador College in East Texas, where he studied theology, speech, and liberal arts. He met his future wife, Julia Lane, in college chorale. After graduation in 1975, he settled in Amarillo, volunteered to serve at church, and found a job that led to his life-long career in life insurance sales and service. Julia and Sammy married on May 30, 1976 in Big Sandy, TX. Two daughters, Christy and Karen Beth, were born in 1978 and 1982.
Sammy owned O’Dell Insurance Agency and represented many fine companies over 45 years. He earned Life Underwriter Training Council Fellow designation in 1987. He was member and past-president of Amarillo NAIFA (National Association of Insurance and Financial Advisors). They presented him the George Morris Memorial Financial Service Professional of the Year Award in 2005. He was recognized in 2011 for the many years he chaired the annual Tri-City Sales Forum convention in Amarillo. Sammy had hundreds of clients across the Panhandle and High Plains. He loved driving to give personal service to clients new and old. He was a kind, dedicated agent and advisor.
Sammy was ordained as an elder in 1984. He was asked in 1997 to serve as a bi-vocational pastor for what is now Grace Communion International in Amarillo and was honored for 20 years of pastoral service in 2017. He received a Master of Pastoral Studies degree from Grace Communion Seminary in 2014. The outpouring of love and kind words from so many longtime friends, church members, clients, acquaintances and extended family shows that Sammy’s ministry and life in Christ reached far outside the church walls.
Sammy’s interests included Bible study, jigsaw and crossword puzzles, computer chess and solitaire, bird watching, coffee drinking, playing hymns on piano, listening to gospel and classic rock, and playing basketball in his younger days.
He is survived by Julia, his wife of 44 years; two daughters, Christy O’Dell López and husband Nick of El Paso, TX, and Karen Beth O’Dell Strovas and husband Scott of Plainview, TX; five grandchildren, Timothy, Dominic, and Zoe López, and Sammy and Sally Strovas; and one brother, Danny O’Dell and wife Diane of Harrison, TN.
You can send cards of sympathy and encouragement to Sammy’s wife Julia at the address below:
4122 S. Hughes St.
Amarillo, TX 79110