James Odell was born to John Orr and Gladys Hatchett in Brandstown, MS on April 11, 1943. James Odell transitioned from this life to be with the Lord on November 11, 2020. James Odell left Mississippi at the tender age of 7 and moved to Benton Harbor, MI with his grandmother, Margaret “Mo” Hatchett. In his teenage years, he moved to Milwaukee, WI with his dad, John Orr and his step-mother Eliza Orr. While in Milwaukee, he attended West Division High School and graduated in 1963. He served in the U.S. Army for a short time during the Vietnam War. He was a star athlete and played many sports, but he excelled in basketball. James Odell was highly skilled in culinary arts and was an exceptional cook. He was most sought after for his homemade barbeque sauce. If he was in charge of cooking, there was always an abundance of food for everyone. If you attended a Hatchett Family function, James Odell and his brothers were always handling the cooking. James was also a very competitive pool player and was a member of several leagues throughout the city and made a lot of friends along the way. Everyone in the leagues knew him as, “Hatch.” James Odell started working at Spartan Department Stores in his mid-twenties and he eventually became manager of the store. In his early 30’s, he was hired at Consolidated Freightways as a plant manager. He was very well-known and loved his job. His co-workers even nicknamed him, “Jim.”
James Odell was preceded in death by his mother, Gladys Hatchett, grandmother, Margaret, “Mo” Hatchett, father John Orr, stepmother Eliza Orr, brothers JD and Walter Hatchett and sister Lena Mae Hatchett. James Odell had nine grandchildren that he loved very much. He was very proud of their achievements and always bragged about how great each and every one of them were. Every Christmas Eve all the grandchildren would come over and have a sleep-over. “PaPa,” as they called him, was more excited about opening gifts than the kids were. He wanted to make sure that all his children were there bright and early to help their kids open their gifts. Then he would cook everyone a big breakfast with a full menu. His homemade french toast was a holiday must-have.
James Odell grew weary in his body and God knew he was tired. Though God knew his departure would leave a void in our hearts, his compassion ruled and he received James into his loving care on November 11, 2020. His love lives on in those to cherish his memory: his lifelong partner, Marilyn McNeil-Hatchett of Milwaukee, WI, five beautiful children: Alicia Munoz, Tanganyika (Anthony) Weathers, Daryl McNeil, Shnee McNeil-Hatchett, and Ja’Metrius Hatchett Stringer – all of Milwaukee, WI. Three sisters: Carol Bolds and Willie Mae Gillespie of Meriocpa, Arizona, Fannie Gilmore of Chesapeake Bay, Virginia. One brother: Willie (Margaret) Hatchett of Benton Harbor, He had nine special grandchildren: Elise McNeil-Hatchett, Kyla N. May, Jelani Weathers, Aniyah McNeil, Ariyana McNeil, Lauryn Donley, Micah Long, Elise Long, Messiah Long and a special great grand dog “CoCo” all of Milwaukee, WI. Very special family friends – The Currie Family, Tony Driver and Clarence McDowell, extended family of nieces, nephews, cousins and a host of many friends.
Visitation to be held at Krause Funeral Home 21600 West Capitol Drive, Brookfield, Wisconsin, Tuesday, November 24, 2020 from 10:00 AM to 10:45 AM. Service at 11:00 AM. Burial to follow at Graceland Cemetery 6401 North 43rd Street, Milwaukee, Wisconsin. Masks are required. Livestreaming of the service will be available on the funeral home website the day of the service.