James Odell Hart quietly passed away early Tuesday morning, January 8, 2019, in his home in Penncraft, Pennsylvania. He was born in York Run, Pennsylvania, on May 15, 1928, to his parents John Richard and Pearley De Hart. He was one of ten children; and his family and many friends called him by his middle name, Odell. Odell graduated from Georges High School and afterwards, he joined the United States Air Force and served for 20 years and retired as a Sergeant in 1972. During his service, he traveled to Thailand, Korea, Japan, Tripoli North Africa, and Hawaii.
After retirement, Odell and his family moved to Laurel, Maryland and a few months later, they moved to Pennsylvania. In 1975, James Odell then moved to Washington, D.C. and while there, he became a member of Mt. Pleasant Baptist Church and sang in the choir with the Inspirational Singers, led by his brother John (JW) Hart.
James Odell was also employed with the Smithsonian Institute as a Special Police Officer; and during his tenure in 1982, he received several certificates for outstanding service.
In late 1980’s James Odell moved his membership to First Baptist Church of District Heights, Maryland. He served as a Vacation Bible School teacher, Computer Literacy Programmer, an Ordained Deacon; and in December 1993, he accepted his call as a Minister of the Gospel. One of his favorite song versus was “Give me a clean heart so I may serve thee, Lord, fix my heart – so that I – may be used by Thee. For I’m not worthy – of all these blessings, Give me a clean heart, and I’ll follow Thee.”
James Odell was diagnosed with MS in early 2000. He moved to the Soldiers Home in Washington, D.C. His illness did not stop him from helping and encouraging others. He played the piano, sang, and performed volunteer work, despite his own condition. After his car was updated with special equipment, Odell would drive from Washington, D.C. to attend the Hart Family Reunion and to visit family members often.
In 2011, due to declining health, James Odell moved back to Pennsylvania. He lived with his daughter in Penncraft. For the last 8 years, his daughter Yvette, has given loving, supportive, exceptional care to her father.
James Odell was preceded in death by : Pauline Hart, Sadie E. Satterwhite Hart, Mary Etta Gary Hart Peterson; his son, Richard “Richie” Hart; his parents; 9 siblings: Justine Ramsey McClelland, Charles Hart, Sr., Susan Corrine Hart Tracy, Pearl Donovan Hart Tracy, John Walter Hart, Robert Donald Hart, Janet Dolores Hart Washington, Royal Dean Hart, Sr., and an adopted brother, Edward Napper.
He leaves to cherish his memory: his loving daughter, Dorothy Yvette Hart Murray; grandsons: Tommy Hart, Justin L. Hart, and William R. Murray; 9 great-grandchildren; brother, Byrtron Lee Hart; brother-in-law, Robert Washington; sister-in-law, Rose “T” Hart; and a host of nieces, nephews, cousins, and many friends.
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