Robert Oden

Robert “Bob” M. Oden, 88, of Waukon died peacefully in his sleep Sunday, December 27, 2020 at his home. Memorial services were held Monday, January 11 at Martin-Grau Funeral Home in Waukon with Pastor Steve Oden officiating. Inurnment was at Oakland Cemetery, Waukon. Condolences may be sent to Steve and Robin Oden at 309 First Street NW, Waukon, IA 52172.

Robert “Bob” Miles Oden was born November 28, 1932 at St. Ann’s Hospital in Chicago, IL, the son of John Selby and Agnes Muirhead Jack (Duff) Oden. In 1951, he graduated from Theodore Roosevelt Senior High in Des Moines. He then attended Drake University for one year. While young, Bob had a myriad of interests including but not limited to: bronc riding in rodeos, modeling, competitive diving, and drumming for a band.

From 1952-1955, Bob served in the U.S. Marine Corps as a sergeant and spent time in Korea in 1952-1953. While still in the service, June 12, 1954, he married Mary Jo Carr at Plymouth Congregational Church in Des Moines. They made their first home in Quantico, VA, where Bob managed a hospital PX. After being honorably discharged, they returned to Des Moines where Bob worked for Iowa Neon and another sign company before starting his own business, Stellar Sign Service. Notably, eight Odens have made a livelihood in some kind of commercial/graphic art.

In 1964, Bob became a Fish and Game Conservation Officer for the Iowa Conservation Commission/Department of Natural Resources (DNR - back then known as a game warden) by going through the Iowa Law Enforcement Academy. Being passionate about his work, he also became a U.S. Deputy Game Warden. From 1981-1988, he was the associate superintendent and the assistant chief of Fish and Game in the Des Moines office.

In 1985, Bob designed and implemented the Turn in Poachers Program (TIP). He also created and started the Fish and Game Wildlife Undercover and Surveillance Advanced Program. Missing the field, he came back to Allamakee County to finish out his very successful 30-year tenure. Bob and Jo also had a canoe rental business, J & B Canoe Outfitters, for many years.

Bob was an active member in many organizations including the Isaac Walton League, the NRA, the Shikar Safari International - where, in 1979, he became wildlife officer of the year, and he co-founded the Allamakee Archers that later merged with the Allamakee Sportsman’s Club. Bob also used his writing talent weekly submitting the “Fin, Feather, and Fur” article for the Ottumwa and Waukon newspapers. An avid storyteller, Bob had in-depth stories of his many endeavors and experiences. For those who’ve heard his stories, you know he was a “detail” guy. After retiring in 1994, he then did sales and maintenance for the Deer Tracks log cabin community in rural Harpers Ferry for six years.

Bob had many hobbies and interests. He loved the great outdoors, both woods and water. Often you’d find him cat/trout fishing on one of the many local rivers, trapping, camping, kayaking and bowhunting. He and Jo always had dogs, eventually preferring Siberian huskies. They also bought a six-acre woods east of Waukon and turned it into a park with pine tree plantings, trails and a campground. But most of all, Bob relished time spent with his wife of 64 years, his grandchildren, and his many great-grandchildren.

This remarkable man has left behind a legacy for his family. A special mention of a dear friend Bob and Jo made in their later years, Kelly Wille, beautician turned friend, they thought the world of you and your friendship.

Bob is survived by his two sons: Steven D. (Robin) Oden of Waukon and Michael J. (Jean Ann) Oden of Burlington, NC; a sister, Nancie (Garry) Gloshen of Clive; his grandchildren: Joanna (James) Downing of Waukon, Nicole (Joshua) Hutson of Wisconsin, Bailey Oden of Minnesota, Shea (Ashley) Oden of Minnesota, Tade (Colleen) Willger of North Carolina, Leah (Brett) King of North Carolina, Tom (Karah) Willger of Texas and Sam Willger of Washington, DC; and his great-grandchildren: Moriah Jo, Miriam, James, Melea, Robbie, Micaiah, John, Mia, Seth, Kirsten, Claire, Julian, Anna, Adelaide and Hazel.

He was preceded in death by his parents; his wife, Jo, in 2018; and his brother, Donald Oden.

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