A Life Lived: Martha Odom lived a long life filled with a giving heart and working hands

Published 11:44 am Tuesday, January 16, 2024

Not many people live to be 100 years old, but Martha Odom lived to be 106 years old. She barely made it to 106, as her birthday was on December 29.

Martha’s life was marked with hard work, love, and a giving heart. Whatever she saw that needed to be done, she did it, whether it was gardening, caring for her family, or lending a hand to a neighbor.

Martha truly enjoyed the life that God gave her. A native of Roan Mountain, she was married to Jesse Odom, who farmed and worked at the local rayon plants. She was the mother of seven children, three of whom are deceased.

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Her daughter, Frances, said that her mother enjoyed gardening, quilting, fishing, and camping. One of her favorite memories is her mother’s last fishing trip at the age of 100. “Her one wish was to go fishing, so we took her fishing at Wilbur Dam – and she caught a rainbow trout,” shared Frances with much joy.

“She grew up much like people her age. They worked hard, grew what they ate. She helped with the crops, milked cows, and raised her family. She often would sit with a sick neighbor,” said Frances.

Martha and her family lived in the Bear Hollow community in the Gap Creek area. “Mama was a good cook. Her main dish and one that she favored the most was soup beans, cornbread, and fried potatoes cooked on a wood stove…and in an iron skillet. She made good apple stack cakes, too, and she liked hamburgers,” said Frances.

For enjoyment, her mother enjoyed camping trips to Roan Mountain State Park and Watauga Lake. In addition to camping, she enjoyed fishing.

Martha also enjoyed shopping – and among her favorite places to shop was the Dollar Tree.

She also liked to quilt. “Her stitches were very small, which marked a nice quilt,” said Frances.

“My mother was a loving and very humble person, and she enjoyed attending church. In the past, she had attended church at Zion Baptist, True Gospel Baptist, and Gap Creek Christian Church. She enjoyed the old hymns, but her favorite song was ‘Beautiful Star of Bethlehem,’” shared Frances.

“She was a good neighbor and never hesitated to help someone in need or sick. She also shared from her garden,” said her daughter.

In addition to Frances, Martha has three other children living, Ray Odom, Ruby Odom, and Linda Hamby. Her three deceased children are Dorothy Ward, Dallas, and G.B. Odom.

At 106, Martha had outlived most of her friends and family members, which oftentimes made her lonely at heart.

One of her home health nurses noted on the funeral home tribute page that Martha was “a wealth of knowledge and love.”

Martha Odom was laid to rest on January 3 in the McKinney Cemetery not far from her home.

Someone has written: “Humility and gratitude are the twin characteristics of happiness.” Martha Odom’s life was marked by both, making her a very loving happy person.