Rosemary K. Odom
Mar 13, 1926 – Feb 6, 2015
Rosemary K. Odom, born to Charles Knowlton and Maury Spetel in Spokane, Washington, March 13, 1926, passed away peacefully on February 6, 2015, surrounded by her loved ones.
Rosemary was predeceased by her parents, her husband of 61 years Robert I. Odom, Sr., a Seattle trial attorney, and brothers Charles, John and Mark Knowlton. She is survived by her sons Robert Jr. (Helen) and Stephen, her granddaughter Margaret, a senior at the University of Washington, several extraordinary friends, and her independent cat, Percivale.
Education and academics were constants throughout Rosemary’s life. Her interest in learning began early and she taught herself to read before starting first grade at St. Theresa’s in Madrona. She advanced rapidly, skipped two grades, and graduated from Holy Names Academy when she was 16. She put herself through Seattle University in three years, graduating at the august age of 19. In 1983, after a 41 year hiatus, Rosemary again donned her cap and gown at Seattle University and received her Master’s in Public Administration, reaffirming her commitment to education and proving that not even a university level statistics course could extinguish her enthusiasm for learning.
Rosemary loved reading, quickly consuming the entire murder mystery and historical biography sections of the Seattle Public Library' Broadview branch, and employed her prodigious vocabulary in weekly battle with the Sunday N.Y. Times crossword puzzle.
With her love for education and her family grown, Rosemary went to work for Seattle Public Schools in administration and worked for more than ten years in community and governmental relations with Olaf Kvamme. Upon retirement, she continued to work part-time with the Retired Seattle Public School Teachers Association and managed the Seattle-Bergen, Norway scholarship and student exchange program. The cherished friendships she made during her career endured to the end of her life.
Rosemary loved travel and her adventures began in 1949, when she climbed aboard a float plane on Puget Sound and took off as a newlywed with husband Bob on their honeymoon. On her last adventure in October 2014 she zip-lined down a mountain side in Maui. In between, Rosemary free-fell 4,000’ on her first skydive jump (at age 69,) parasailed in Hawaii, loved hot air ballooning (and the celebratory champagne upon landing,) went gliding in a sailplane, climbed a waterfall in Jamaica and cruised to Alaska, running the Mendenhall rapids with her granddaughter Margaret.
Traveling with Bob Sr, she explored South America, sailed through the Panama Canal, visited Japan, China, and other parts of Asia. She traveled extensively throughout Europe and hiked the German Hunsruck while visiting her son Bob, a post-doctoral geophysicist working in Erlangen, Germany, and punted the river Cam with her son Stephen when he was pursuing a graduate international law degree at Cambridge University, England.
As a guest of Israel, Rosemary met with educational professionals and toured school facilities throughout the country. Following Bob's death in 2011, she continued to travel, attending a friend’s wedding in the Vatican and privately touring the Vatican Museum, the Sistine Chapel and the Pope’s personal garden (where she inadvertently got locked in, only to be released by the Swiss Guards), toured the Amalfi coast, climbed to the mountain monasteries in Meteora, Greece, and hiked through the small villages on Santorini. During her last trip to France, she cruised the canals of Burgundy and capped off the trip with a flute of champagne on the summit of the Eiffel Tower.
The family wishes to thank the highly professional and caring members of the Seattle Fire Department, Swedish Hospital Cherry Hill, and the Polyclinic who cared for Rosemary at the end of her most enriching, adventurous, wonderful, and loving life. Rosemary was a kind, generous and engaged individual, and an inspiration for positive, youthful exuberance to the end.
This obituary is provided by Bonney-Watson, providing caring and compassionate funeral, cremation and cemetery services since 1868. We have a professional staff, four funeral homes, two cremation facilities and one of the largest cemeteries south of Seattle, as well as a comprehensive grief support program.