By MICAH HENRY
Town of Taylorsville staff and residents were shocked to hear of the sudden passing of Town Manager David Odom, 52, on Monday, April 17, 2023.
Odom had served as Town Manager for Taylorsville since 2003. Prior to that, he served on the Alexander County Board of Commissioners from 1998 to 2003. Odom served as member of the Alexander County Board of Education from 2010 to 2022 and also as Board Chairman.
He was a 1989 graduate of Alexander Central High School. Odom had also served as a fireman with Central Alexander/Taylorsville Fire Department for more than 30 years.
He leaves behind a wife, Tamara, and children Daniel, Averi, and Zoie.
Taylorsville Mayor George Holleman said the Town Council and Town staff gathered on the morning of Tuesday, April 18, to mourn and discuss a path forward for the Town.
In reflecting on Odom’s life of service to his hometown, Mayor Holleman said, “I emphasize all of the progress we’ve made over the past 20 years while David was Town Manager. We received more than $15 million in grants in that time. If not for that, we would have had to raise taxes. A lot of the grant funds went to things people don’t see — like water and waste water systems — but that was his big legacy. He served a lot of people who came to him as Town Manager, whether it was for a cemetery plot or any Town concern.
“He loved his county and town and the school system. If anyone asked him for anything, he would do everything he could for them,” Holleman said. “People who love the town just make it so much better to live here.”
“We loved him like a brother and we will really miss him,” Holleman stated.
Aaron Wike, who served as Interim Town Manager while Odom had recent medical leave for surgery a few weeks ago, said, “I’ve had the privilege and honor of working with David for nearly 20 years. During that time, he became more than a coworker/boss, he became family. A great pastor once said the most important thing you see on a person’s grave marker is the easiest thing to overlook. It’s the dash between the birthday date and death date. That dash represents the person’s legacy and impact on this world. David’s impact was one of service. He served as a county commissioner, on the school board, and was a volunteer firefighter. During those times of service, he faced many challenges and opposition that I personally would not have wanted to face as a leader, yet he always made the decisions he felt was best for his community and did it out of love for the community,” Wike stated.
“His love for the community wasn’t bound to just elected positions and his job as town manager, there were numerous acts of service he performed outside of the public’s eye. I witnessed several accounts where he transported people within our community to doctor’s appointments when they had nobody else that could take them. I can’t count the number of yards he mowed to help people out and he had a heart for those struggling financially and homeless. His love for his community could only be outdone by his love for his family. No matter what, his family always came first. They were his pride and joy. His passing has left a large hole in many hearts and lives. He will be greatly missed!” Wike related.
Local attorney Joel Harbinson, who served with Odom on the Alexander County Board of Commissioners, also mourns the loss. “I got to know David when he and I ran for County Commissioner back in 1998. As County Commissioners, he and I became close friends and remained that way ever since. Nobody cared for people more than David. And if you didn’t like David, there was something wrong with you — not David.
“Although we mourn his absence among us, you will always be able to see him when you look at the Catawba Valley Community College branch in Taylorsville, because, without him, it wouldn’t be here. You can see him while looking at Alexander Correctional Institution, which, again, would not have been established without him. The same for Ellendale School, the new gym at ACHS, and the much-improved fire stations, EMS, and Rescue Squad facilities and equipment — all because of his commitment and devotion, particularly to students and public safety.
“The Town of Taylorsville and Alexander County gained immeasurably during his life through his love and dedication to the citizens of both.
“I will miss him dearly, but I will always cherish him as my brother,” Harbinson concluded.
Perhaps it would be fitting to let Odom himself have the final word. In October 2022 election coverage, he told The Times, “Civic service to Alexander County and Taylorsville have been my life’s work. I’ve been a lifelong resident of Alexander County, and have witnessed this county face decades of challenge and change. It’s been an honor to serve the citizens through many of these challenges, leadership is a privilege.”
Funeral services for David Scott Odom will be conducted on Friday, April 21, at 3:00 p.m. at Sulphur Springs Baptist Church, 116 Patterson Road, Hiddenite. No visitation will be held.