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Weldon Pat Oden, 71, of Blackwell, passed away suddenly on Sunday, July 20, 2014 doing what he loved to do â€” fly his airplane. He did not survive when his plane went down over family property outside of Blackwell known to family and friends as â€˜The West Placeâ€™. The specific crash site was within 20 yards of the location his parents starting their first homestead together on this property during the Great Depression.
Pat was born on Sept. 6, 1942 in Sweetwater. He graduated from Levelland High School and joined the United States Air Force during which time he met and married his wife, Patty Haugen on Aug. 31, 1963 in Grand Forks, ND.
Professionally, Pat was an electronic technician through his Air Force training and began his career in this field at Texas Instruments in Houston in the early 1960s. He also spent many years in the late 1960s/early 1970s working at Johnson Space Center in Houston for the National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA) as not only an electronic technician, but, also an astronaut test subject for the Apollo mission to the moon. He also contributed electronics integration on Skylab as well as the early development of the space shuttle. From here, he transferred to the National Center for Toxicological Research in Pine Bluff, AR where he worked on mass spectrometry systems. Following this, he moved his family to Great Falls, MT where he worked for the Federal Aviation Industry (FAA) at Malmstrom Air Force Base as a civil servant responsible for radar systems. From here, he transferred with the FAA to his final professional job of managing radar systems for commercial and military aircraft on Sawtell Peak, Idaho while living in St. Anthony, ID. Some years after retiring, he moved with his wife to Blackwell in 2010.
During his retirement years, he enjoyed fishing, hunting, wood/metal working and being a lapidarist (rock hound) with his wife, Patty. But, his greatest loved hobby was flying his airplane that he and Patty built â€” a single-engine, two-seater KitFox IV in 1994. He enjoyed many years of flying this craft in Idaho, Montana and other destinations in the N.W. United States and Canada as well as Texas where he and Patty built a strip and hanger in 2013 on the beloved West Place where he enjoyed many hours with his grandchildren Austin and Lucy where they hunted arrowheads on RedBluff, target shooting and finding rocks.
He is survived by his wife of almost 51 years, Patty; son, Patrick (Rick) and his wife Amy with his beautiful grandchildren, Austin and Lucy who live in McKinney, TX. He is also survived by his brother, Mike Oden and his wife of Odessa; his aunt Rena May Beam of Colorado Springs, CO. and uncle TJ Oden of Blackwell. Also survived by so many beloved cousins, nieces and nephews on both Oden and his wifeâ€™s (Haugen) side of the family.
He is preceded in death by his parents, Joe and Retta Oden of Littlefield, TX; his brother, Billy Joe; and sister-in-law, Sydney.
Long known for his love of family and extended family/friends, Pat would provide help to anyone in need and â€˜give them the shirt off of his backâ€™ if necessary. He was a devoted husband, father, grandfather, friend to many near and far â€” he will be missed and never forgotten.
A memorial service will be held at Blackwell United Methodist Church on Friday, July 25, 2014 at 11 a.m. Visitation and lunch will follow the service in the fellowship hall at 400 E. Main St., Blackwell, TX 79506.
Due to his deeply felt love of animals, a memorial fund in his name has been set-up for the San Angelo Animal Shelter. Donations on his behalf can be made to: City of San Angelo-Animal Services, 3142 U.S. Hwy 67N, San Angelo, TX 76905; (325) 657-4224; http://www.cosatx.us/departments-services/animal-services.