Published in Houston
Chronicle on January 10, 2012
Benjamin Dudley Tarlton
(Boo) Odem passed away at his home in Hunt, Texas on November 10, 2011.
He was survived by his brother, Harry Odem, for a week, and is survived
by 32 nieces and nephews.
He was preceded in death by his parents, Brian Sylvester Odem and Wilbert
Irwin Odem, his sister, Sylvia Odem Landrum, and his brothers Brian, Bert,
Jimmy, and Anthony Odem, and his nephew, Thomas Odem.
Boo was born on January 6, 1930 in Corpus Christi, Texas and raised in
Houston, Texas. He attended Saint Anne Catholic School and graduated from
Saint Thomas High School in 1949, where he was a cheerleader and a baseball
pitcher for the Eagles.
In 1953, Boo was a left-handed pitcher playing professional baseball in
Abbeville and Baton Rouge, LA. in the Evangeline League.
Boo received a B.A. in Journalism in 1955 from the University of St. Thomas
in Houston. He was also a veteran of the U.S. Navy.
Boo worked from an early age into his 70's. He began his journalism career
in high school working for the Houston Chronicle covering high school
football, and after college, covering Rice University football. His first
personal column was called "Bowling with Boo". Later, he worked
as the Sports Information Director for Vanderbilt University in Nashville,
Tennessee. He spent the last 30 years of his career working as a Sports
Reporter for the Stars and Stripes newspaper for the U.S. Military in
A lifelong bachelor, Boo visited his family often from Europe, and arrived
with a thunderclap and a cloud of dust, injecting the family gatherings
with another level of intensity and passion. His photographic and encyclopedic
memory ensured a rapid-fire storytelling extravaganza. Woe be to the butter-gloved
shortstop that mishandled a hard-hit ball and ran into Boo Odem many years
later, for he would be reminded of the inning, pitch count, and who was
on base at the moment of his fielding indiscretion. But Boo's mission
was not one of ill intent, but just a journalist's devotion to the story
combined with a capacity for recall that astounded and amazed until the
Boo will be remembered fondly and missed by us all. May his soul rest
in peace and may perpetual light shine upon him.
A Memorial Service will be held at Saint Anne Catholic Church on Saturday,
February 11, 2012, at 11:00 a.m. A reception will follow in the St. Teresa
Room at St. Anne's. In lieu of flowers, donations may be made to Notre
Dame Catholic Church in Kerrville, Texas.