TERRE HAUTE —
Ezell Odom, 89, of Terre Haute, passed away peacefully on March 12, 2013, at Terre Haute Regional Hospital, with his wife Lillian by his side. He was born to Thurman Odom and Roberta Turner Odom on Dec. 17, 1923, in Cross Plains, Tenn., and was one of three children, Edna Pearl Gary of Terre Haute, and Yvonne Bennett who preceded him in death. Ezell graduated from Union High School, Gallatin, Tenn., in 1943.
He served in the U.S. military from 1943 to 1945 as a Montford Point Marine stationed on the Pacific island of Funafuti. He was part of a U.S. military effort to keep the Japanese out of the Gilbert and Marshall islands in the last years of World War II.
He received the Congressional Gold Medal on Sept. 7, 2012, which is the nation's highest civilian award. After retiring in 1983 from the U.S. Federal Penitentiary in Terre Haute, he worked at Tri Industries for eight years before retiring again in 1991.
Ezell was a member of Second Missionary Baptist Church, where he was a deacon, trustee, treasurer, Sunday School teacher, and Sunday School superintendent.
He is survived by his loving wife of 63 years, Lillian Dean (Smith) Odom of Terre Haute; their three, daughters, Claudia Odom of Terre Haute, Donna Towles Hoffand her husband Robert of Wake Forest, N.C., and Bonita McGee of Terre Haute; four grandchildren, Traci Miller and her partner Shannon Mason, David Towles Jr. and his partner Alicia, Derek Odom and Destiny McGee; 12 great-grandchildren; and four great-great-grandchildren.
Visitation will be Friday, March 15, 2013, from 5 to 7 p.m. at Second Missionary Baptist Church, 1400 Oak St., in Terre Haute. Services will be Saturday, March 16, 2013, at 1 p.m. at the church with visitation at 12 noon. Graveside funeral honor by the Marine Corps Honor Guard will be at 3 p.m. at Grandview Cemetery, 1601 Lockport Road, in Terre Haute. Russell Funeral Home is in charge of the arrangements.