Minister Willie Joe Oden was the results of his parents, George and Lillie Oden of Sylacauga, Alabama, who came into existence on March 6, 1943.
Like all walks of life, Willie Joe was tested and tried and displayed the dignity and respect that any human soul could ask. He attended South Highland Elementary School and East Highland High School and was a member of the class of 1961.
It was at early childhood that Willie Joe became a member of St. Thomas Church through his parent’s guidance and was very active in the activities that was offered in churches for young people, but by the power of the Holy Spirit Willie Joe answered the calling of the Lord to direct his strength in preaching and spreading THE word. His calling led him to start a Bible Study group for the children in his neighborhood and to visit the jail every Sunday morning before coming to teach Sunday School at St. Thomas. He felt the urge to be immersed by baptism instead of the sprinkling of water and he did this at Shiloh church under the leadership of Rev. McIntyre. During this time also, Willie Joe had the privilege of pastoring 2 churches in Oneonta, Alabama for one-year after Rev. Henry McGhee. His greatest joy was found in encouraging and advising others of the goodness of the Lord, tending to his flowers and garden, canning and freezing, and enjoying his family, as well as working at Thompson-Weinmann, and Kimberly-Clark/US Alliance, where he retired after 27 years of service. He also did a short span of security for Delta Security until he had to stop and take care of his wife, and that he did with so much care and love until her demise.
He was preceded in death by his parents, George and Lillie Oden, brother Rudolph Halcombe, Jr., wife- Donna Ruth, adopted daughter- Catherine Swain, sister- Carolyn Jackson, grandson-DeAngelo Stamps, great nephew-Courtney McKinney.
Those who feel most deeply the sharp pain of loneliness are: son, Joe Melvin (Angela) of San Antonio Texas, son, Ronald Dimitri, son-James Teague (Renetta) GA, daughter, Wendy, daughter, Tracy, sister and only sibling, Mildred (Ralph) McKinney; sisters-in-law, Jeannie Halcombe, Linda Paris; brothers-in-law, William Jackson of Decatur and Otis Pearson of Sylacauga, 19 grandchilden, 11 great grands, a loving family of nieces and nephews.