Ida Momyer Odell was a pioneer and woman of the business world – March 15, 1987

Ida Momyer Odell was a pioneer and woman of the business world

Klamath Falls Herald and News

Klamath Falls, Oregon
March 15, 1987

Ida Momyer Odell, born Dec. 24, 1881, was affectionately called “Tiny Tiger,” She was a delicate and sensitive woman who was tested many times as she lived out the drama of being a pioneer woman who eventually entered the world of business.

She stood her ground on several occasions and quickly dispelled any myths that she was weak or that her demure size indicated helplessness.

One such occasion occurred when she served as city treasurer. She stood up to the city council and clerk refusing to allow them to use money ear-marked for repaving South Sixth Street, to pay off city bonds.

The Women in History Committee has selected Odell as the second woman to be recognized during Women in History Month. Written by Sue Hamilton, the photos are courtesy of the Klamath County Museum and Thelma “Mickey” Henry.

Few women have the opportunity to touch history as did Ida Momyer Odell. She spent her early childhood on the Klamath Indian Reservation where the Modocs, Klamaths and Yahooskin Snakes were living after the Modoc War.

It is through Odell that we are able to glimpse the life of Indian women in this area from 1895-1903.

In an interview with author Carroll Howe for his book, “Ancient Modocs,” she reported that the Indian women were very kind and loving. They would join in visiting and twining baskets and would allow her to do some of the twining. However, Odell felt sure that it was necessary afterwards for them to remove all that she had done and then start the basket where they had left off.

A manuscript she wrote in 1950 entitled, “A Saga of the Klamath Indians,” described her view of Indian Life and philosophy. This manuscript can be found in the Klamath County Library.

She served many years as clerk of School District No. 1 and as city treasurer. She was also cashier at the Klamath State Bank and later a teller for First National Bank.

In 1924 Odell started an insurance and real estate business which she operated until 1946. She sold the business and became an active partner with her husband, Robert, in the Studebaker Agency.

One of the happiest events in her life was her marriage in 1931 to Bob Odell. During their marriage, he joined her in visiting many of the places of their youth.

Odell was a charter member of the Klamath Chapter of the Daughters of American Colonists, the Business and Professional Women’s Club and the Soroptomist Club. She also was a member of the Eulalona Chapter of the Daughters of the American Revolution, the Aloha Chapter, Order of Eastern Star, the Methodist Church and the Rebekah Lodge.

She was the founder and first president of the Klamath County Historical Society. Having a sense of history at an early age, she gathered and preserved priceless perishable artifacts used by the Indians. These and other items were given to the Klamath County Museum.

Her feelings are best described in her own words: “I have loved Klamath more than anyone can ever know. Its vivid sunsets, its bare hills and timbered mountains. Its vast lonely reaches, now a thing of the past. Lakes, springs and rivers. The smell of burning sagebrush, the taste of sourdough bread. It has been exciting, always interesting, but I would not want to live it over again. I am filled with gratitude for these later peaceful years, for financial security due to the wisdom of my beloved husband and most of all for him and his patience, kindness and love.

The “Tiny Tiger” went to sleep, a sleep from which she never awakened at their retirement home in Salem.

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