10/06/08 — Rotary member leaves money to college

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Rotary member leaves money to college

By Phyllis Moore
Published in News on October 6, 2008 1:46 PM

MOUNT OLIVE -- Former proprietor of Tyndall Funeral Home and Rotary Club member Norwood Odom believed so strongly in his club's scholarship program for Mount Olive College that he left a sizable donation for it in his will.

The $309,298 Norwood C. Odom Estate Gift was announced at Thursday night's Rotary meeting. It will be part of the Rotary Club Endowed Scholarship Fund.

Odom was 79 when he died Jan. 6, 2007. Described as a "quiet man," he never had children of his own but "he loved them," said Annie Kornegay, executrix of his estate.

When he married second wife Lucy in 2001, who had four children of her own as well as several grandchildren, "he was the happiest he had ever been," Ms. Kornegay said.

He essentially "inherited a family," Mrs. Odom said.

"He got his children the cheap way -- they were grown, they were educated, they were on their own," she said.

The couple lived on Henderson Street, close enough to hear the sounds of the college, its events and its students.

"I don't think anybody could live near Mount Olive College and not appreciate those chimes from the chapel," she said.

Even though Odom did not attend college, he was a well-read, very intelligent man who likely would have done well in college, stepdaughter Ann Lee said.

Rotary member Doug Connor recalled Odom's fondness for Mount Olive College, now the benefactor of his generosity.

"His dream was to have someone known on campus as a Rotary Scholar," he said. "He felt like if we could get this endowment built up and have a first-rate student and that person identified as a Rotary Scholar, that was one of his dreams."

This year's Rotary Scholar, Ashley Hartley of Mount Olive, received a $1,000 scholarship from the club.

Thanks to Odom's generous gift, other students will receive help paying for their education, said Chris Wood, vice president for institutional advancement,

"Even though he didn't have any children, he has left this legacy that will affect many other children for years to come. ... Next year we're going to have more than one MOC Rotary Scholar because that fund has grown."

The Mount Olive Rotary Club was credited with starting a fund that has grown much since it began as a "loan fund" in 1960 to memorialize members who passed away or honor their accomplishments, said Jeff Daughtry, director of planned giving at MOC. Six years later, it was changed to a memorial scholarship fund.

In 1979, it became an endowed fund, with only the principle used each year to provide scholarships.

As of this week, Daughtry said, that fund had grown to $21,000.

"This past year, Ashley received a $1,000 scholarship from Rotary. Next year the award will be in excess of $16,000 so there will probably be more than one recipient," Daughtry explained, telling the club, "Indeed, you are transforming education. You are transforming student lives.

"That's what you're helping MOC to do and this is a day we will always remember."

Framed certificates of appreciation were given to Frank Clifton, club president, as well as the college. An aerial photograph of the college was also given to Mrs. Odom.