Dale Laurie Oderman was born on April 20th, 1935 in Watford City, North Dakota, to parents Glen Herbert Oderman and Alice Serena Olson. Anita Margaret Allen Oderman was born in Pensacola, Florida, to parents Odie Ray Allen and Edith Margaret Ayers on December 29th, 1936. Dale passed away peacefully in his home on Sunday, December 13th, 2020 at the age of 85 – surrounded by his loved ones. Anita would follow her one true love just three days later on December 16th, 2020.
Dale & Anita met while studying at the University of Oregon, while Dale was enrolled in the Air Force ROTC program, and Anita studied Education, earning her Master’s degree. The two were married August 23rd, 1958 in Reno, Nevada, and remained close by each other's sides for over 62 years. Dale and Anita had two children together.
Soon after their marriage, Dale graduated flight school, and went on to build an illustrious Air Force career -- achieving the rank of Colonel. He served as a search & rescue pilot in Vietnam, flying the affectionately named “Jolly Green Giant” Sikorsky helicopters; he earned the Silver Star for his efforts, as well as numerous other awards. Dale also served as President Lydon B. Johnson’s personal pilot while stationed at Bergstrom Air Force Base in Austin, Texas. Dale also managed to earn a Master’s degree at Auburn University in Alabama in his spare time. Dale later became the commander of the 1550th Aircrew Test and Training Wing, and oversaw his wing’s move to Kirtland Air Force Base in Albuquerque in 1976. Dale was awarded the Air Force’s prestigious Order of the Sword in 1978.
Meanwhile, Anita remained a dedicated military wife and devoted mother, following Dale around the country and the world while raising her children. For over 45 years, Anita was a devoted reading teacher, and served as an educator wherever Dale’s military career took her. She took great pride in being an Officer’s wife, and was active in several military organizations on base as well. A devout Presbyterian, Anita also found time to devote herself to religious studies, and was one of the church’s hardest-working volunteers.
The couple fell in love with New Mexico’s natural beauty, and decided they would retire to the Land of Enchantment to raise their family. Dale spent 30 years as a prominent Albuquerque realtor, while Anita continued her career, teaching at Adobe Acres Elementary School for over 16 years. She was also the Director of Christian Education at First Presbyterian Church in Albuquerque for over a decade. The couple personally built their dream home in Sandia Park, and spent much of their time enjoying the beauty of the Cibola National Forest with each other, and their grandson.
Dale and Anita were admired and respected by many. Dale was renowned not only for his professionalism, but also for his generosity and compassion. Those close to Dale remember him as a man of few words, always carefully chosen. He took pride in his innate ability to recognize the best in people, and did whatever was in his power to help and support his family and friends. Dale is also remembered for his spirited debate, his wisdom, his great humility, and unparalleled sense of dry humor.
Anita is remembered for many things: Her serenity, unrelenting positivity, her nurturing soul, and her warm laughter. For all of her life, she remained devoted to family and faith above all else. An avid socialite, Anita also enjoyed her time serving in several different organizations, especially PEO and the Daughters of the American Revolution – both of which she remained active in until the last year of her life. She also relished in her quiet life at her home in the Sandias, spending much of her time reading and enjoying the peace and tranquility of the mountains.
Dale is preceded in death by his mother Alice, his father Glen, his sister Patricia, and his nephew Jeff.
Anita is preceded in death by her beloved husband Dale by just three days, as well as her father Ray, mother Edith, and her sister Etsie.
Dale and Anita are survived by their daughter Laurie and her husband Sterling; grandson Austin, as well as son Paul and his wife Theresa; grandson Dale, and granddaughters Carrie, and Abby. Anita is also survived by her brother Ray and his wife Denise; her sister Natalie and her husband Scott, while Dale is also survived by his sister Jeannie and her husband Phil, and nephew Doug.
The devoted couple will be laid to rest in Dale’s hometown of Watford City, North Dakota on Thursday, December 24th in a small service with their closest family.
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