In Memoriam: U of M Foundation Leader Robert J. Odegard
Robert J. Odegard, age 92, of Naples, FL, passed away peacefully among family and friends, following a full life of service to community, state, and country. A devoted son, brother, husband, father, farmer, naval officer, automobile dealer, legislator, stockbroker, and celebrated fundraiser for the University of Minnesota, Bob’s charisma and persistence propelled him to the top of every field in which he endeavored.
With his wife Barbara at his side, Odegard engaged leaders from Minnesota’s highest echelons in business, politics and education. In 2000, he was awarded an Honorary Doctor of Laws degree in recognition of his distinguished career at the University of Minnesota Foundation.
Odegard found his calling at the University. “Education is the Lord’s work. The entire concept of a university is so useful to society, I can’t think of anything more important. I had done a variety of things in the years since I graduated that were helpful to me when I returned. I knew people in the automotive business, the agricultural world, the political arena, and the investment business.” Under his vision and leadership, the University of Minnesota Foundation significantly increased its annual giving and set new national standards for philanthropy in higher education. Bob’s first attempt to retire was cut short, and he was called back to the Foundation for another two years, proudly handing the reins to Gerry Fischer, whose historic leadership carried the Foundation into the new millennium.
Florida services will be held at Bob’s favorite place, the pool at Arbor Trace, 1000 Arbor Lake Dr. in Naples, FL on Sunday, September 29 at 2 p.m.
Minnesota services will be held at Wayzata Community Church in Wayzata, MN on Friday, October 11 at 10:00 a.m. Burial at Oak Knoll Cemetery in Princeton, MN at 2 pm. Friends are invited to gather afterward at the Casey- Odegard home at Spectacle Lake for light refreshments.
Memorial gifts in Bob’s honor may be sent to the Odegard Scholarship Fund at the University of Minnesota College of Design c/o University of Minnesota Foundation, PO Box 860266, Minneapolis, MN 55486-0266.
Family condolences can be sent to Susan Wood: 204 Birch Ave, PO Box 72, Mount Gretna, PA, 17064.
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