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Clara Emogene “Jean” O’Dell

It is with profound sadness that we mourn the passing of Clara Emogene “Jean” O’Dell, 83, of Ireland. She passed in the comfort of her home on Saturday, August 14, 2021.

Jean, or “Aunt Jean” as most knew her, was born in Duffy on December 19, 1937, the second of eight children born to the late Cecil and Myrtle McCartney Bleigh. She loved growing up “in the hollow” with her large family, working the farm, and helping care for her siblings. Jean often spoke of having to walk two miles to the one room schoolhouse and starting the fire to warm everyone. It was here that she made many lifelong friends and began her calling from God as caregiver to others.

At the age of sixteen, Jean moved to Weston where she lived with several families to care for their children and clean. While in Weston, Jean met and married her husband, Clarence Henderson O’Dell on November 13, 1954. Although she had no children of her own, Jean raised many as though they were hers.

One day she received a call from her cousin, Melvin Woods, asking if she and Clarence would move in to help care for his six children. Without hesitation, they selflessly gave up their own home to move to Buckhannon where they spent many years. During this time, Aunt Jean not only assumed the role of mother, but was also involved in many organizations. She was a 50+ year member of the Weston Eagles Club where she wore many hats. Jean worked the youth dances, organized fundraisers and was so generous of her time and talents that she was elected to several offices including, WV Eagles Club State President. She was also a member of the VFW Auxillary, a volunteer in Upshur County Schools, Upshur County 4-H, and the Red Hat Society.

When Jean’s mother became ill, she and Clarence moved back “home” where she lovingly cared for both her parents until their passing. Jean was not one to sit still and while living in Ireland she became an active member of the Ireland CEOS Club. She held several offices, headed up committees, and was always working hard behind the scenes with fundraisers and whatever was needed. Jean was elected Queen of the Irish Spring Festival in 1999 and proudly served the Ireland community. Jean loved working the senior citizens dinners and volunteering at Our Neighbor in Weston. She worked road clean-ups, dinners for funerals, and anything anyone called for help with, without hesitation.

Jean was a lifetime member of Elijah Chapel United Methodist Church until it closed. She was always the first to arrive to light the stoves and warm the church before the congregates arrived. Jean loved her small church family and held various offices and positions throughout her life. Aunt Jean was a devoted wife, daughter, sister, caregiver, and friend like no other. She was a wonderful Christian woman who was loved, and will be missed, and always cherished.

Jean will be lovingly remembered by six siblings whom she was very close to: Louise Lowther and husband, Glen, of Ireland, Shirley Messenger of Buckhannon, David Bleigh and wife, Mae, of Ireland, Darrell Bleigh and wife, Connie, of Ireland, Brenda Moore and husband, Jessie, of Weston, and Bobby Bleigh and wife, Shelly, of Weston; one brother-in-law, Larry Jeffries of Glenville; and several nieces, nephews, great nieces and nephews, and children she “raised” and loved dearly.

Jean was preceded in death by her parents: Cecil and Myrtle McCartney Bleigh; husband, Clarence O’Dell; one infant brother, Kyle Bleigh; one sister, Sandra Jeffries; and two brothers-in-law: Robert Hefner and Bernard Messenger.

Family and friends will gather for Visitation at Clutter Funeral Home – Alkire Chapel located at 190 Wildcat Rd. in Ireland from 12-2 p.m. on Thursday, August 19, 2021. Funeral Services will begin at 2 p.m. in the Alkire Chapel with Reverend Russell Furr officiating. Interment will follow at McCutcheon Chapel Cemetery in Ireland.

We, at Clutter Funeral Home – Alkire Chapel, are honored and privileged to serve the family of Clara Emogene “Jean” O’Dell. Online condolences may be expressed at www.ClutterFuneralHome.com. ​

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