Tuesday, September 25, 2018

Buddy Gene Odekirk (Odie), Legendary for magic

    Buddy Gene Odekirk   (Odie) passed away on Thursday, September 20, 2018 surrounded by friends.

  Legendary for his magic, we know he's somewhere saying, "that's the first time that trick ever worked!"

   Odie was the second child born to Cecil Ray Odekirk and Vivian Smirl Odekirk on September 5, 1937 in Long Beach.

   He grew up in Ogden, Utah and Priest River, Idaho and joined the Army in 1954 where he became
a Draftsman.

  During his military career he was on the regimental boxing team and also officiated boxing all over Europe.

   In 1959 Buddy married Marilyn Hoffpauir and they had two daughters, Barbara and Toni. Following their divorce, he married Evelyn (Evie) Beldin in 1963 and they had a son Michael.  They were also later divorced, but remained good friends for the remainder of his life.

   Odie had a great love for life. He loved his family, golf, magic, art, woodworking, computers, pool and women.  His love for the town of Copperopolis and its people was evident.

   His talents were vast and diverse. He could do anything and did, including building a cabin from start to finish with his own hands near his childhood home on the Pend Oreille River in Idaho.

  He attended Weber College and University of Utah, earning his degree in Art at JC Fullerton. He retired from Pacific Bell in 1991 after 25 years, where he started as an entry level installer and worked his way all the way up to system engineer.

   He was a high level computer programmer during the dot com boom in the 1990's and worked for major companies such as Bank of America and Unisys. He forgot more about early web development and software engineering than most of us will ever know.

   Odie had a lifetime love of golf. He went to Europe several times and played the best courses in the world. One of his favorite memories is playing all of the British Open courses in Scotland and courses in France, Italy, Spain and Germany with his son Mike.

   He was perhaps most in his element at the Orco Telco golf league where he remains a fabled character.

   Odie was larger than life, never losing an arm wrestling match. He was once introduced on the Steve Allen show as the "Arm Wrestling Champion of the Western United States."

  Odie loved to tell stories and you could be sure that 50% of every story was true.  You just never knew which 50%.  Odie was an expert pool player and won multiple Calaveras County pool championships even into his 70's.

   In 2002 Odie bought the Old Corner Saloon in Copperopolis, transforming it rom dilapidated into a welcoming hub for the community. He became synonymous with the town of Copperopolis in the years that followed.

   While a new foundation was poured under it, he remained open in order to keep the title of "The Second Oldest Continuously Operating Saloon in the State of California."

    If you walk into the Old Corner today, you'll see signs of Odie everywhere. From his hand-made tables to the Coke sign he made famous.

  When Odie performed his final magis disappearing trick, he left beind his daughter Barbara Moore an son Mike Odekirk; 5 grandchildren David, Alyssa, Matt, Michelle and Travis; 8 great-grandchildren, his son-in-law Tim Moore, with whom he had a special bond, as well as three adopted grandchildren Michelle, Robbie and Ryan.

   He also left his brothers Cecil Ray Odekirk, Richard Bitton, Lamont Bitton an many nieces and nephews who will miss him dearly.   

   Preceding him were his daughter Toni Chessmore, his parents, his brother Laurie Red Odekirk and his sister Laurel Hoggan.

   The kind citizens of Copperopolis gave Odie the perfect send-off at the Old Corner Saloon on Sunday, September 23, 2018.  It was everything Odie would have wanted.

   Cremation is under the direction of Angels Memorial Chapel.


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