(1912 – 1989)
Ernestine Odom is a part of the history of Monroe County. So is her late husband, Walter Odom. When she went to Monroe County as Ernestine Harris to be the home demonstration agent, he was the county agent there. They were the first two agents appointed to work with blacks in Monroe County. Mr. Odom passed away in 1972 and is also honored in the “Book of Memories.”
Ernestine Harris was born on April 12, 1912, in Orrville, Alabama. She received her bachelor of science degree from Tuskegee Institute and a Master’s degree from Alabama State University. She also did further study at George Peabody College in Nashville, Tennessee.
She was a home demonstration agent in Monroe County from July 16, 1938, to August 15, 1941. Afterward, she taught English for 35 years, primarily at Bethlehem Industrial Academy (later Union High) and Monroe County High School.
Besides being an educator, Mrs. Odom was an active member of her community and her church. She was a member of the board of directors of Bethel Day Care Center, Inc., which she founded, and the Federation of Child Care, Inc. She also served on the board of the Retired Senior Volunteer Program, the Las Amigas Club, and the Conecuh-Monroe Community Action Agency. She was active in the Bethel Baptist Church Missionary Society, adult and youth choirs, Sunday School, and Baptist Training Union.
Active in working with youth, Mrs. Odom was an adviser for the Student Action for Education chapter at Monroe County High School and was a trainer for the Monroe County 4-H meat judging team.
Her death occurred on June 20, 1989. Her surviving children are Walter C. Odom, Jr., Orin C. Odom, Sr., Walretta Odom Jones, Luci Odom Williams, Valarie M. Odom, and Renia Rush. We join them in honoring the life of Ernestine Harris Odom by inscribing her name on the dedicatory plaque of the Extension Memorial Chapel.
Chapel Plaque Inscription Number: 285