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Ralph "Opy" Odom

Date of Death: January 1, 2022

Date of Birth: May 5, 1936


Ralph "Opy" Oliver Odom, 85, passed away January 1, 2022, at MidCoast Hospital after a brief fllness. He was born May 5, 1936, son of Hoyett and Opal Odom in St. Pauls, North Carolina.

Even before graduating from St. Pauls High School in 1955, Ralph began his long military career by joining the Army National Guard in October of 1954. A year later in October of 1955 he began his career in the US Navy where he was stationed at bases around the world before teaching Survival Classes along the East Coast.

Ralph is a legend in the Naval Survival world (SERE) having spent over 33 years training Naval and Marine Corp personnel how to survive any type of captivity or survival situation. As a young sailor in 1963 he was assigned to the NAS Brunswick SERE program, retiring there as a Parachute Rigger Chief in 1976. He then remained there as a SERE training specialist for 20 more years, retiring in 1996. Ralph played such a major role in every aspect of the SERE Training Program, so much so that the training facility in the mountains of western Maine was renamed the "Chief Ralph Odom Training Facility" in 2004.

Retirement gave time to pursue his passion of woodworking as well as giving to others by supporting Toys for Tots and the Santa Fund. He constructed hundreds of wooden model trains, trucks, cars, and planes for many children at Christmas time. Several museums still display some of his pieces.
1978 he built a cabin on the shore of Lake Mooselookmeguntic and later a canoe for fishing there. A talented poet, he wrote many heart felt poems at times of tragedy as well as celebrations.

Ralph is survived by his wife, Rebecca Lee Springer, married June, 1965; son, Russell Oliver and his wife, Dawn; granddaughter, Jessica Lynn from Berlin, Germany; and many nieces, nephews, and cousins. He was predeceased by his daughter, Roberta "Robin" Lee; both his parents; brothers, Kenneth, Thomas, Albert, Carey; sister, Sharon Dean; and nephew, Carey.

A time pf shared remembrance will be held at United Baptist Church in Topsham at a time to be determined with burial in the spring at Maine Veterans Cemetery, Augusta. In lieu of flowers donations may be sent to MidCoast Hunger Prevention Program, 12 Tenney Way, Brunswick, ME 04011, or the United Baptist Church, 1 Elm St., Topsham, ME 04086. Condolences may be shared at

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