Barry Kent O’Dell
Published 12:46 pm Wednesday, December 6, 2023
Barry Kent O’Dell, 75, is now at peace following a lengthy illness. He passed on December 3, 2023.
Born in Bristol, Va., Barry was raised in Bluff City, Tenn. He was part of the last graduating class of Bluff City High School before it was consolidated into Sullivan East High School. He played cornet in the high school band and in the Continental Combo which was a sixties era band. He majored in business at East Tennessee State University and also studied physiology. Barry loved cars and was a member of the Sports Car Club of America. He raced MBG’s in numerous rallies where he enjoyed success. Because of the nature of the sport, he became a self-taught accomplished mechanic and worked as an import technician.
In the early seventies, Barry tested with a high score qualifying acceptance in the Electronics Training Center of Excellence for the United States Air Force located at Keesler Air Force Base, Biloxy, Miss., where he graduated with honors. He was stationed at Loring Air Force Base in northeastern Maine, and excelled as an Aircraft Electronics Specialist. Barry was later transferred to the RAF (Royal Air Force) Station at Lakenheath, the largest U.S. Air Force-operated base in England, located in Suffolk. There, he serviced B-52’s, AWACS (Airborne Warning and Control System elite surveillance aircraft) and F-111’s. For nearly six years he lived in an old English countryside home in the historic parish Bury St. Edmunds, and traveled extensively throughout Europe during leave.
After his honorable discharge, Barry returned to Tennessee, eventually building his log cabin at the base of Holston Mountain in Bluff City. He retired from Wilson Pharmacy in Johnson City as a medical purchasing agent. Barry was an accomplished and passionate cook, a nature enthusiast, and enjoyed computers and reading. He most loved the natural beauty of the Appalachians and of coastal regions, spending hours driving mountain roads and hiking, simply to explore and discover a new place. A favorite pastime was settling in with a novel on his cabin porch, with one of his cats nearby as he studied a mountain view, or relaxing with his feet in the sand of a quiet beach.
Barry was a member of the Bluff City First Christian Church.
He was preceded in death by his parents, Earl and Dorothy O’Dell.
Survivors include a brother, Rodney O’Dell, Bluff City; a sister, Jill O’Dell Fair, a brother-in-law, Roger Fair, and a nephew, Skylar Fair, of Elizabethton; several extended family members; and a lifelong friend, Don Addington, and wife Jean, West Virginia.
There will be a private family ceremony at a later date. Memorials may be made to the Bluff City First Christian Church Youth Fund, P.O. Box 217, Bluff City, TN 37618, or to the charity of choice.
Courtesy of Tetrick Funeral Home.