Richard A. Odenbach, Jr., age 56, a native West Sider and longtime Colerain Township resident, died January 12, 2012 at his home. Born April 1, 1955 in Cincinnati, OH he is the son of Antoinette (Florimonte) & the late Richard A. Odenbach Sr. He was a 1973 graduate of Western Hills High School.
For Richard Odenbach Jr., family always came first – even before his own health.
Although weakened by a battle with pancreatic cancer that had spread to other organs, Mr. Odenbach, concerned over his sister’s safety, recently spent half a day changing the locks on her Green Township home.
“He was the oldest brother in our family, and he took that very seriously,” Roseann Kern said.
“He’d never ask for anything, but always felt that he was supposed to take care of us. Even when we got into our 40s and 50s, I always was his little sister. Never just his sister, always his little sister. As sick as he was, he was looking out for me to the very end.”
John Odenbach, his brother, called Mr. Odenbach – known as Rick to family and friends – “the glue of our family,” the person who took charge of organizing gatherings for holidays, birthdays, anniversaries and other special occasions.
Mr. Odenbach applied the same caring, hands-on approach to relationships with his many friends and business associates, feelings that were reciprocated. When friends hosted a fund-raiser last summer at a Cheviot restaurant to help defray some of Mr. Odenbach’s medical costs, nearly 500 people showed up.
“That’s an indication of what people thought about him,” said John Odenbach, of Louisville, Ky. “He was a man of humble means but had a heart of gold. He didn’t have a lot, but what he had he shared, and shared gladly.”
If family was Mr. Odenbach’s major passion, bowling was the other. A 200-plus average bowler – the sport’s rough equivalent of a scratch golfer – for years, he once appeared on “King of TV Bowling,” a popular local bowling show, and bowled several perfect 300 games in leagues over the years.
For more than a quarter century, Mr. Odenbach traveled each year with teams from Cincinnati to cities across the country to compete in the annual American Bowling Congress tournament, one of the sport’s biggest events.
While he was a very serious and skilled competitor, teammates also recall his sense of humor.
One year, his team did not lose a game until mid-season, when it dropped one to the league’s last-place team. Mr. Odenbach’s reaction to the upset loss was to find five paper bags, then cut out holes for eyes, noses and mouths. For the rest of the night, Mr. Odenbach and his teammates wore the bags over their heads, dubbing themselves “The Unknown Bowlers.”
“He always wanted to be laughing and smiling,” said another brother, Joseph Odenbach, of Delhi Township. “He didn’t like the sad moments of life. He tried to always stay upbeat.”
Until his illness forced him to stop working last year, Mr. Odenbach was a surveillance manager at the Hollywood Casino in Lawrenceburg. In earlier years, he was a member of the Cincinnati Private Police, which handled security and crowd control at events such as festivals and concerts. He also had once been a security officer at Shillito’s department store.
Cooking was another of Mr. Odenbach’s favorite activities. Among family and friends, he was especially known for cooking large pots of chili, “one of the many things we’re going to miss,” his sister said.
“He always tried to make things a little better, a little more enjoyable, for everyone,” Joseph Odenbach said. “And he did.”
Mr. Odenbach is survived by his mother, Antoinette Odenbach, of Delhi Township; a son, Thomas (Delissa) Odenbach, of Englewood, Fla.; a daughter, Rachel (Robert) Abbott, of Greendale, Ind., grandchildren Richard & Tyler Abbott, Cassidy, Lexi & Colton Odenbach, sibling Roseann Kern, Joseph (Alma) Odenbach & John (Sandra) Odenbach. In addition to his father, Richard was preceded in death by a grandson Trey Odenbach and brother Edward Odenbach.
A memorial Mass will be held 10 a.m. Wednesday, January 18, 2012 at St. Teresa of Avila Church, 1175 Overlook Ave., West Price Hill with Father Tom Bolte officiating. Visitation will be 3-6 p.m. Wednesday, January 18, 2012 at Jackman Kercheval Meyers Funeral Home, 215 E. Broadway Ave., Harrison, OH followed by funeral services at 6 p.m. with Shawn Crisman officiating at the funeral home. Memorials are suggested to the family c/o the funeral home.