Richard Louis "OD" Odsather, 71, died Nov. 28, 2012, with his wife and sons by his side. He fought a valiant fight against thyroid cancer.
OD was born in Anchorage to Louis and Estella (Irwin) Odsather on Sept. 29, 1941. As a kid he had a paper route, enjoyed scouting, becoming a Sea Scout and was active in DeMolay. His love of water skiing, in reality and in jest, began with time spent at his family's cabin on Wasilla Lake.
He attended Anchorage High School where he particularly enjoyed playing football and skiing. After graduating in 1959, he enrolled at the University of Alaska Fairbanks where he studied engineering design, Arctic engineering and competed on the UAF cross-country ski team. His studies were interrupted to help his father build an office building in downtown Anchorage, and were further interrupted when he was drafted into the Army. It was while serving in Korea that he pursued Tae Kwan Do, achieving a second degree black belt. Returning to the states, he was assigned to Fort Greely where he took great delight in being able to 'manicure' the runway with every piece of heavy equipment he was licensed to operate.
He taught karate to the officers in the Anchorage Police Department before returning to UAF where he graduated in 1970. While at the university he met his future wife, Shirley Drury.
During the early stages of pipeline design, OD developed insulated roadways and specialized building foundations designed to resist the harsh forces of permafrost. He received several patents for these innovations. He continued working on pipeline design creating new methods for the pipe to interact with vertical support members. Bechtel transferred him with his family to the San Francisco area on two different occasions, but he always returned to Alaska.
He worked for the State of Alaska Department of Transportation and Public Facilities, was the chief of right of way and became deputy director in the State Pipeline Coordinators Office. He was passionate about the rights accorded to Alaska at the time of statehood and was particularly proud of his work helping establish access corridors throughout the state.
After retirement, consulting took OD to Russia and China and led him to work with the Alaska Natural Gas Development Authority.
OD and Shirley built their home in Fairbanks where they raised their two sons Jon and Erik. He became involved with the Boy Scouts and Fairbanks Youth Soccer as the boys grew up. Cross-country skiing was a source of great pleasure and he was so pleased when his sons took up racing in high school.
His grandchildren were a great source of excitement and pleasure. He took great interest in all their activities and loved to joke and encourage their mental strengths.
OD was proud to be a Mason and became Master of Tanana No. 3 in 2006. He was a member of the Pioneers of Alaska Igloo No. 15 and Past Exalted Ruler of Fairbanks Elks Lodge No.1551 in 1987.
He is survived by his wife Shirley, son, Jon and his wife Missy; son, Erik; grandchildren, Taylor, Mason and Aislynn; his brother, Ken and his wife Gay; his nephews, Norman and Martin; sister, Kathy; cousin, Steinar Hansen; brother-in-law, Bill Drury and his wife Barbara, and nieces and nephews, Rose, Sarah, Tim, Ben and Jenny.
OD will be remembered for his tremendous sense of humor. He had a joke for everyone and every occasion. He had a way of bending a story and catching his audience off guard, especially if he used one of his voice disguises.
The family would like to thank Dr. J. Cox, Dr. Shihadeh, Dr. Kim, Dr. Triplehorn and all their staff as well as the doctors, nurses and health care providers in the ICU at Fairbanks Memorial Hospital.
A memorial service will be held at
2 p.m., Friday, Dec. 7, 2012, First United Methodist Church, 915 Second Ave., a reception to follow. Another service will be held in Anchorage in January, time date and place to be determined.
Now that the trials of probationary state are over, and he is beginning his final journey to the Great Architect of the Universe, may he be admitted to the temple not made with hands internal in the heavens. So Mote it be!
Arrangements were entrusted to Fairbanks Funeral Home.
Published in Daily News-Miner on Dec. 4, 2012.