Cover photo for Larry D. Odom's Obituary
Larry D. Odom Profile Photo
1944 Slick 2024

Larry D. Odom

September 10, 1944 — April 8, 2024

McMinnville, Tennesee


Larry D. Odom, otherwise known to his friends as “Slick,” was born September 10, 1944, on his parents’ family farm in the Joe Harris Hollow off Auburntown Road in the Witty Hollow of Cannon County, Tennessee. His mother was Betty Louise Odom, born Morris of the Marshall Creek Community, and his father was Ray Franklin Odom of the Locke’s Creek community. 

When Larry’s mother was in child labor, his father walked across the hills to a neighbor’s house who had a telephone and called Dr. J.F. Adams. Dr. Adams came to the farm in his Model A Ford along with his Nurse Mrs. Mary Wiley Stone. His brother was born first, and then Dr. Adams looked at their mother and said, “Mrs. Betty, I think there might be another one!” Larry was then born about 30 minutes later.  Dr. Adams charged a fee of $25.00 because there were two babies born, not his regular fee of $15.00 for one baby’s birth.

Larry had red hair and blue eyes from the Irish ancestry of his Grandmother, Shabie Brandon Morris, who lived on Marshall Creek Road outside of Auburntown, Tennessee. His brother’s hair was black and had brown eyes from the Cherokee ancestry of his Grandfather, Pressley Pink Morris. Larry’s 3-year older sister was born with dish-water blond hair, also from the Irish ancestry of her Grandmother, Shabie Brandon Morris.

In their early years, to some folks Larry was just known as “Red” and his brother known as Blackie”. His dad used to say that when folks saw the two boys they would say “Ray, they got them mixed up in the hospital with the other babies.” His dad would just simply say “No, they were born at home on the farm.”

When he was four years old in 1948, Larry first saw TVA electricity brought to their family farm. Up until then Larry and his family lived by coal oil lamps and a woodburning stove in the living area of their two-room farm home and a woodburning cast iron cook stove his mother used in the kitchen of their farmhouse originally built as a log cabin. Larry as a small boy was charged with carrying water in buckets from a cave spring nearby, shelling corn, and feeding their chickens to raise for eggs and farm food.   In 1949 when Larry and his brother turned five they started school at the Sanders Fork School about ½ way between Woodbury and Auburntown on Highway 145 in Cannon County. Larry’s mother was one of the teachers and had started Larry’s sister in school at age four.

When Larry turned 10 years old in 1954, his family sold the farm and moved to the Town of Woodbury about five miles away in a house just across Hollis Creek Road from where the current fairgrounds are located. Before the fairgrounds were there, the field across from his family house was plowed in the Spring for planting corn. When first plowed, Larry walked in the furrows and found flint stone arrows and tomahawk heads carved by Native Americans down near where the Stones River took a bend near stone veins of that particular hardened flint rock.

Larry entered the 5th grade at the Woodbury Grammar School, attended Jr. High School across the street from the Grammar School, and then went to the Cannon County Central High School where he graduated with the Class of 1962. While in grammar and high school, Larry was involved in school bands, the local Scout Troop, the 4-H Club, and Church activities. During his high school years, Larry was a volunteer for the Woodbury Fire Department, going to neighborhood fires to extinguish the flames and save as much property and lives as possible.

After graduation, Larry worked a few different jobs, the shirt factory in Woodbury, and a sign company in Murfreesboro before obtaining a career employment job with the State of Tennessee Department of Transportation from which he retired after several years. In the interim years, Larry served as a volunteer fireman with the Moore Town Fire Department and the Cannon County Rescue Squad receiving the distinction of being a lifetime member.  

Larry served in the Tennessee National Guard for six years beginning in March of 1965, a Military Police Unit located in Smithville, Tennessee. He went to basic training at Fort Jackson, South Carolina where he was a Cooks Apprentice, an inside job due to his tendency to get sunburned skin in other outside assignments.

In July of 1993, Larry married Donna Sue Davenport. Larry and Donna Sue lived on Bush Road, Bradyville, Tennessee. After Donna Sue’s death in 2002, Larry lived by himself for 16 more years before needing assistance from a nursing care facility in 2018.

Larry was a well-known member of the community. He was a “knife and gun trader.” He liked to visit yard sales and pick up items of interest to him, such as old camp stoves and lanterns, and broken Craftsman tools (that he took back to the local Sears Store to swap for new tools under the lifetime warranty). You had to be an experienced trader to even make a swap or buy a deal with Larry. And as everyone who traded or swapped with him knows, you usually could not get the best of him. And if he ever actually gave someone an item, there was a “string” attached: he might ask for it back at some future date (ask one of his nephews about a Blue Genie Bottle Larry once “gave” him).

In addition to the Town or Woodbury Volunteer Fire Department as a youth, the Moore Town Volunteer Fire Department, and the Cannon County Rescue Squad as an adult, Larry also volunteered for a few years to help in the local food “give-a-way” program at the fairgrounds each Saturday that provided food for the needy families of Cannon County. Out of his truck, he would usually hand out surplus food to others in need that couldn’t make it to the Saturday fairground distribution events.

Larry and Donna Sue were caregivers for Larry’s parents after his mother and father both retired and were dependent on others for assistance in their older ages. He took his parents to the grocery store, to their doctors, and to visits with his brother and his family in Illinois and Virginia. They were also caregivers for Donna Sue’s parents who lived nearby, helping put in a garden or other tasks needed. Donna Sue and her parents and aunts were one of the last generation of Appalachian families that grew or made just about everything they needed on their farms such as chairs and baskets made from white oak wood.

Larry was a baptized Christian at an early age, a member of the Woodbury Church of Christ beginning in the mid-1950’s. Prior to that time while living on the farm, Larry’s mother made sure she and her children attended services at the Auburntown Church of Christ on Wednesday nights and Sunday mornings.

To some folks he was known as Larry, the red-headed twin; to some, he was called “Big Red;" and to others, he was simply known as “Slick,” a mystery to some folks (and to his brother and sister as well) as to how he came by that nickname.

He was willing to help anyone who needed assistance, a trait spilling over from his volunteering for the local fire department and the rescue squad. At different times, he would visit a distant cousin living alone out in the country near Murfreesboro and take her to get groceries, or to sell her aluminum cans she picked up on the roadsides near where she lived. 

When he became unable to drive, see, and hear well and needed help himself, several of his friends nearby and members of the rescue squad came through by checking on him at home and seeing that his meds were correct and that he went to doctors and for treatment of cataracts, hearing, dermatologist care, and when he needed purchases of shoes, clothing, and at one point a new washing machine. A local restaurant owner near where he lived called to check on him and delivered meals to him at home. As a member of the “liar’s club table” at Joe’s Place on the Square or later at Hardee’s at breakfast time, if Larry didn’t show up someone called to check on him. By the way, Hardee’s is where he met Donna Sue who he later married.

Yes, the community and his friends, church members, and retired folks will certainly miss having “Slick” after he left to go to his Lord’s place of restful peace. And as anyone who knows “Slick”, he’ll probably be volunteering for some heavenly duties up there (or maybe back down here, so keep an eye out for a red-headed Angel) as well. And who knows, maybe some “trading” on the side.

Go In Peace! Serve The Lord Larry! 

Preceding him in death were his wife, Donna Sue Odom; parents, Ray and Betty Morris Odom; and sister, Virginia (Frederick) McGuirk. He is survived by his twin brother, Harry (Annette) Odom of Florida; niece and nephews, Jonathan (Ashley) Odom of China, Jeremy (Deidre) Odom of Florida, Joshua (Sarah) Odom of Texas, Ginger McGuirk of New Mexico, and Christopher (Angelle) McGuirk of California; great nieces and nephews, Jordan Ray Odom, Scarlett Odom, Samuel Odom, Nolan McGuirk, and Alina McGuirk; and many cousins, friends, and community members.

Visitation will be held at Gentry-Smith Funeral Home on Thursday, April 11, 2024 from 3-7 pm. Funeral services will be Friday, April 12, 2024 at 2 pm in the Gentry-Smith Funeral Home chapel. Bro. Herb Alsup will officiate. Interment will be in Center Hill Cemetery. 

In lieu of flowers, memorial donations may be made to Adams Memorial Library.

Share memories and condolences at Gentry-Smith Funeral Home, 303 Murfreesboro Rd. Woodbury, TN 37190, 615-563-5337 Because every life has a story
To order memorial trees or send flowers to the family in memory of Larry D. Odom, please visit our flower store.

Service Schedule

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Thursday, April 11, 2024

3:00 - 7:00 pm (Central time)

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Friday, April 12, 2024

2:00 - 2:45 pm (Central time)

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Friday, April 12, 2024

3:00 - 4:00 pm (Central time)

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