Sammy R. O’Dell

Sammy R. O’Dell
Sammy R. O’Dell

Sammy R. O’Dell, 67, of Amarillo, Texas, passed away Thurs., Nov. 5, 2020.

Services will be at 2:00 P.M., Saturday, November 21, 2020, in the Boxwell Brothers Ivy Chapel. Burial will be at Llano Cemetery. Arrangements are by Boxwell Brothers Funeral Directors, 2800 Paramount Blvd.

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 a college chorale. After graduation in 1975, he settled in Amarillo, volunteered to serve at church, and found a job which 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 for over 45 years.  He earned Life Underwriter Training Council Fellow designation in 1987. He was a member and past-president of Amarillo NAIFA (National Association of Insurance and Financial Advisors). They presented him with 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 brethren, 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 the piano, listening to gospel and classic rock, and playing basketball in 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.

Memorials may be made to GCI Ministerial Training Center (Central Region), P.O. Box 32252, Oklahoma City, OK 73123.

The family will receive friends from 5:30 P.M. – 7:00 P.M., Friday, November 20, 2020, at Boxwell Brothers Funeral Home.

20 Replies to “Sammy R. O’Dell”

  1. I didn’t know Sammy well, but the few times I talked to him, I could tell he was a kind, gentle and caring man. After reading the story of his life, I wished I’d had the opportunity to know him better. My prayers go out to the family.

  2. Prayers for your family, Christy. Your family has been in our thoughts and prayers.


    Sarah, Andrew, and Duke Griñé and Anna, Christina, and Frank Mayne

  3. Julia,
    So sorry. May you and your family feel God’s peace and strength.
    If you ever come to Floria, look me up (ask the Flemings).

  4. My heart goes out to you Julia, Christy, Karen, and all the family for your sudden great loss. I share in your sadness. Sammy was truly a kind, caring, and unique individual who touched so many lives in a positive way.

    After college at a low point in my life, he invited me to Amarillo, gave me a job selling insurance, and shared his apartment with me. It was a pleasure working with him and driving between most every town in West Texas during that time. I enjoyed many breakfasts and coffee at IHOP and long hours on the road. Last summer Connie and I enjoyed sharing breakfast and looking over photo albums at Cracker Barrel with him, Julia, and our friend Joe.

    May God give you comfort, peace, and strength in the assurance we will be reunited with Sammy. RIP my friend.

  5. We grew up with Sammy in Murphy, NC.
    Sammy was a great guy !
    Prayers to the Family. He will be missed.

    Bruce & Brian Coward

  6. Mr odell waa a very good man an Loved the Lord he married most of my children off an even done mine an debbies wedding he an mrs odell pretty muched watched our children grow up best neighbors anyone could ever ask for he did my dads service in 08 an our moms in 2020 such a great man an we looked up to him for who he was he will be missed by many but for our family he aill be missed everyday the odells are more like family to the Arnolds Love you Mr Odell an may you rest in peace

  7. Sammy will be greatly missed by the Murphy High School class of 1971. He and Julia traveled long distances to attend our reunions and our 50th will not be the same without him. Rest in peace, Sammy and remain forever young in God’s arms. My deepest sympathy to your family.

  8. Julia, Christy, and Karen,

    My family has loved Sammy for so many years that we were all shocked at his passing. His kindness and generous nature, coupled with his savvy insights and clever responses to my sarcasm, have all made him the subject of many warm reflections and loving laughter in our family.

    Rita Jan Gehman

  9. The rewards that he received here as the many accolades the professional career and ministry recognition does not nearly rival the reward in the heavenly presence of his Lord. In my many years of association with Sammy, I greatly appreciated his pleasant & confident manner & that he always held the consideration of others as primary. We were all beneficiaries of the way he touched our lives.

  10. Julia, our prayers are with you and your family during this sad time. I so enjoyed talking with Sammy as his gentle and kind spirit was always present. His love and dedication to God, his family and his work is inspiring. He was a giver and truly enjoyed serving. He will be greatly missed! God bless you all.

  11. I loved Sammy, he was a kind and gentle soul. He always put God first, others second. I was a young new agent in the insurance industry and went to a NAIFA meeting and Sammy was the first to greet me. We became good friends and I always looked forward to the next meeting so I could talk to him. Sammy will be missed!

  12. The very thought of Sammy engenders his sheepish grin and soft voice that was always so welcoming and calm. He embodied integrity and dedication to God, his family and many friends. Prayers for your loss and ours; he will be missed and always admired!

  13. Sammy was always steady and faithful. He was very committed to his personal desire to serve God and to the many years of service to his insurance work. I know he was so appreciative of you Julia and your daughters helping and being supportive in his endeavors. May God bless you now and in the future.

  14. So sorry to read that Sammy passed. Knew him for years from the Insurance business and everyone thought he was a fine guy, both fellow agents and clients. My prayers go out to the family during this difficult time, but Sammy knew where he was going and he is smiling and talking to Jesus now, just like he has planned for many years. God bless !!!!!!!

  15. Sammy was always kind and thoughtful about what you were doing. I met him through Life Underwriters Association, a group to which he was so dedicated. He was so helpful to anyone that needed assistance. God bless his family. He will be missed.

  16. He officiated my husband’s funeral in 2019. He was very gentle with the family and I was so appreciative that I chose him to say final words over my Tim.
    Julia, I know your pain. I’m very sorry for your family’s loss.

  17. Sammy really loved drinking coffee and visiting. It’s not too often that one meets someone like Sammy who asks so many questions rather than telling about himself. I regret missing his last invitation. He will be dearly missed.

  18. Sammy was a great guy. I worked with him in the insurance business and he was a kind leader. God Bless his soul. Fly high Sammy Fly high. My deepest sorrow for the family

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