Odis E. Horsley, Jr.
The recent passing of Odis E. Horsley, Jr. has had a deep emotional impact on the Big Walnut Community. Odis was an Eagle through and through and an avid supporter of Big Walnut Athletics. In 2010, Odis was elected to the Big Walnut Athletic Wall of Fame, where his picture resides in the Big Walnut High School atrium. Odis was easy to find. He would, predictably, be at the athletic fields supporting any one of our teams, helping in the concession stand or hanging out at PJ’s restaurant.
Odis and his wife Diana ran the Big Walnut Athletic Boosters concession stand for 21 years. They also ran Bingo nights at Big Walnut High School for 18 years. Together, they have raised thousand of dollars to help the Big Walnut Athletic Boosters.
Odis was employed with Big Walnut Local School District for 29.5 years. He began as high school custodian under retired Principal Chuck Workman who stated that, “Odis was a very good employee and would perform any task that was asked of him.” Odis worked his way through the ranks onto the grounds crew, and eventually ended his Big Walnut career with the Maintenance Department where he retired in 2011.
Odis devoted time to coaching youth football and softball. For 25 plus years he drove the equipment bus for the high school football team. These were his ways to continue giving back to the kids of Big Walnut. According to Odis’s wife Diana, Odis drove the equipment bus to the 2007 State Championship game and was permitted by Coach Wetzel to watch the game from the sidelines. This meant so much to Odis, and though it meant that he could not yell at the officials from the sidelines, he enjoyed sharing in that special moment when the boys brought home the title.
The outpouring of support on social media given by current and former students of Big Walnut demonstrates the profound impact Odis had on our community.
Stated by Football Coach Joe Weaver, “When you think of Big Walnut Athletics there is not a bigger iconic person than Odis.”
The Big Walnut Athletic Department will add an award this spring in the memory of Odis Horsley, Jr. and will recognize one male and one female student that best represents his love for Big Walnut Athletics. A committee will be formed to organize a memorial that will be placed in the football stadium.
As we look over the fence line next fall, it will be difficult not to see Odis standing there, yelling at the officials, and supporting the students of Big Walnut. We are grateful for all he has done for Big Walnut, and we will help his memory live on.
Soar like an EAGLE, Odis!
Big Walnut High School