In Memory

Karie Odell - Class Of 1966 VIEW PROFILE

Karie Odell

It was confirmed to me by her brother Rick (class of 68 - )his older sister ‘Karie’ has past, – She was Margret Kathleen (Odell,) Pifer - December 2, 1947 – July 29, 2013. She was in the Class of 1966 .  Karie has returned in spirit back to MoVal High to walk the ‘Halls of Valhalla.’ She is there with the kids of her youth as a Viking, celebrating as Vikings did… A quote from what I was given, ”High School Graduation came, and this young girl was changing into a young woman. That summer would find her with her white convertible Corvair Monza packed with friends (and occasionally her younger brother) heading to Newport Beach. The last carefree days before friends would begin to disappear into far off schools, the military for some, full time jobs for others, and the beginning of adulthood for all”
Karie is survived by her son Ken, his wife Heidi, and her daughter Amber and Amber’s husband Derrick. Kari also has 7 grandchildren (Austin, Morgan, Braydon, Sharia, Peyton, Bailey and Wyatt) and 1 great grandson Carson. Karie's is joined by her older Brother Tipton (passed in 2014) and survived by Tipton's wife Kathy and their 5 children and her younger brother Richard, his wife Lyn and their 6 children.
Karie will be missed. But more than that…. she will be celebrated. --- Brother Rick

go to bottom 
  Post Comment

08/07/16 08:35 PM #1    

Terry Sweeney (1968)


   Karie, Tip and I each had different relationships with our parents and with each other. We’ve come to acknowledge that we each knew a slightly different parent…and I suppose our perceptions of who we call our brother and sister may be somewhat different also. With that in mind, I don’t suppose to define who Karie is... but rather who she is to me. And, in the process, you might recognize who I have come to know as my sister.

   Laughter! Unabashed, unrestrained. A wonderfully free sense of humor whether directed at herself or the absurdity of life’s situations. No one laughs harder at the memories of her and Jerry newly married. Living in a tiny upstairs apartment in Riverside Ca. Young and poor, as many of us were, they had invited friends for a dinner party of Karie’s Special Spaghetti to celebrate the start of their new life as grown- ups.  Karie had spent the afternoon simmering the sauce and making the home made meatballs. The noodles were ready, the table was set and the guests would be arriving shortly. It was simply a matter of mixing the sauce and noodles and placing the steaming entrée as the centerpiece of the table. The mixing of the sauce and noodles went well. The placing of the steaming entrée…. not so much. Somehow, between the kitchen counter and the table, Karie’s Special Spaghetti hit the kitchen floor.           This dinner party had taken a large bite out of a small paycheck. Here was Karie’s first opportunity to showcase her and Jerry’s start of their life together. The guests would be arriving. There was no Plan B.

   The night went well. Everyone enjoyed the dinner and the evening. But I guarantee there was an extra twinkle in Karie’s eyes as she was complimented on her Special Spaghetti. The special recipe? A little dash of linoleum.

   Karie has a wonderful gift in her. She has never lost the innocence of wonder and awe at the beauty that this world or others show. She is not a cynic. She is a hopeful soul. And in so being…she has the gift to lift the souls of those around her.

  When I picture my favorite snapshot of memory….it is Puerto Rico. 1962. Her hair is cut short, just above her shoulders. Wearing light blue beachcombers and white sneakers with no socks. Riding on the back of Jim Martin’s Honda 50 with the biggest, most genuine smile ever. 15 years old. Summer days. Puppy love. The whole world in front of her. That is my sister.

08/07/16 08:36 PM #2    

Terry Sweeney (1968)


December of 1947 brought a new resident to the yet unheralded community of Denver Colorado.

 Margret Kathleen Odell had been born into one of the many military families that made up Denver’s growing population. The Military Family would be her Life. A year and a half earlier the family had given birth to her older brother Tipton in Austin Texas. Two and a half years later a younger brother Richard would join the family in Egland Air Force Base Florida. And, two years after that, the new family would be on a steam ship headed for Japan. The next forty years of her life would be the perpetual uprooting and restarting of life so common to Military families.

It was at Johnson AFB in Japan that Karie started school. It was 1952 and the Korean War was in full bloom.  In trailing her older brother to and from elementary school, sometimes the air raid sirens would begin to wail and they would, as trained, scurry into the nearest bomb shelter until the “All Clear” siren was given. And then, resume their walk home.

         Karie was, by all means, the typical pre- adolescent girl growing up in the 1950’s. With a quick laugh and caring nature, this red haired, freckled, and cherub cheeked girl made and kept friends easily. She played dolls, skipped rope, hopscotched, and strapped steel wheeled roller-skates to street shoes (using her skate key to bind the clamps against the rims of the leather soles and strapping them across bobby sock covered ankles).

By 1960 dolls and hopscotch had given way to Rock and Roll, Teen magazines, and a portable record player for playing her 45’s. Karie started her teen years under a Caribbean sun and along coconut treed beaches. The family was stationed at Ramey AFB, Puerto Rico, where every day had the feel of summer. And every night, a warm summer’s night.  Along with the lush foliage, Karie also bloomed. Active in school groups and clubs, beginning to date, falling hopelessly in love (as only 14 and 15 year olds can), she’d ride horseback on the beaches, and cling to Jim Martin as they “tooled around” the base on his red and white Honda 50. Dances at the Youth Center and School, parties and beaches, those years flew by too quickly.

Returning to the States, there were brief assignments in Texas and Idaho. But by January of 1965 the family found itself back at March AFB in Riverside California where they had been living prior to Puerto Rico. Karie was among the first graduating class of the new Moreno Valley High. Here she again made friends easily, dated and had crushes, and became the first Senior Prom’s Prom Queen. Upon turning 16, Karie finally, literally found out who she truly was.

 As it was with every 16-year old in Southern California, getting your driver’s license was paramount to receiving The Holy Grail.  Karie studied for the test, practiced her parallel parking and waited. When the Big Day arrived, her mother dutifully drove her to the DMV and looked on as Karie began filling out the license application. In the block for First Name, Karie wrote “Karie”. Her mother tapped her on the shoulder and said, “That’s not your first name”.

“What? What do you mean? What’s my first name?”

“Margaret”. Her mother simply replied.

“Margaret??” Karie asked astonished.

“You were named after your father’s mother”.

With this new bit of knowledge, Karie slowly turned back to the application and dutifully scratched out “Karie” and wrote “Margaret”. The next block asked for her middle name. She wrote “Karie”. Again, the tap on the shoulder.

“That’s not your middle name”.

Again, but with a bit more frustration, “What???!”

“It’s Kathleen”.

“Well where did Karie come from?”

Her mother looked at her and said, “I made it up. Your father named you because I was in no condition to. I later told him he could name you whatever he wanted but you would be called “Karie” ... with a “K”. (At this point it might be good to acknowledge that Karie’s occasional stubborn and defiant nature may have had as much to do with genetics as anything else). And so they stood for a few seconds and just looked at each other. But once again she turned, scratched out “Karie” and wrote in the unfamiliar name “Kathleen”.

 High School Graduation came, and this young girl was changing into a young woman. That summer would find her with her white convertible Corvair Monza packed with friends (and occasionally her younger brother) heading to Newport Beach. The last carefree days before friends would begin to disappear into far off schools, the military for some, full time jobs for others, and the beginning of adulthood for all.

In the fall Karie started Riverside City College. Here she met a tall gangly young airman from the base who was also taking classes. His name was Jerry Pifer. She and Jerry dated and fell in love. And in the winter of 1967 they were married at the Base Chapel. Her stern faced father giving his little girl away. Her mother, smiling and nodding at the guests, and dabbing tears. Her brothers, looking awkward trying to fulfill their usher duties.

Karie’s father would die unexpectedly in May of the coming year. And in August, she would bring her son Kenneth into the world. They were like many of the new young families occupying the apartments nestled close to the University of California, Riverside. Jerry worked at the base during the day and pumped gas at a local 76 gas station at night. Karie made their home and began the never ending process of being a Mother and a military wife. Orders would come over the next 15 years and they would move.

First, to Guam. It was in Guam that Karie found The Church of Jesus Christ of latter Day Saints. Or possibly better put, Karie and the Church found each other. The Church was not simply a way of life for her. Throughout their travels, meeting houses were sometimes owned by the Church, other times they were merely borrowed rooms or buildings. Wards and Groups could be equally diverse. And so, it wasn’t the meeting schedule or routine, the comfort of the established lifestyle, or the bonding of like purposed souls that Karie clung to. It was the Gospel. The Church was not a lifestyle. For Karie, The Church was Life. Her faith was complete and powerful.

 Upon returning from Guam she informed her family of her conversion. The news was met with...well…politeness at best. Her younger brother mockingly asked, “So …what? You don’t dance or listen to music and stuff?”

And so, she began to patiently explain this strange religion she had found. She also began fasting and praying. Her brothers were not religion seekers. They were, to put it mildly, quite comfortable in their chosen iniquities. But Karie fasted and prayed. Over the next several years, she would be blessed repeatedly. First with the birth of her life’s Angel. Her daughter Amber was born in 1972 while they were stationed at Vandenberg AFB. And solely because of Karie’s influence, older brother Tipton and his wife would join the Church within the next two years. And against all odds, her younger brother Richard would be sought out by missionaries while he was in the Air Force and stationed in Texas, He and his wife would also join the church.

And so Karie’s influence spread. It’s a pity we’ll never know its depth and the stories that others could tell. From Germany, to Little Rock Arkansas, to Rapid City South Dakota, Moreno Valley California, and Mesa Arizona.  This once red haired, freckle faced little girl touched many.

Karie was living in Mesa Arizona and working at Arizona State when she lost her husband Jerry in 2002.  He had suffered a massive stroke and she held his hand in the hospital room when he passed. Within the next year she would be diagnosed with ovarian cancer. A series of surgeries and Chemotherapy treatments left her weak and in 2006 she moved to Omaha to live her daughter Amber.

In Omaha, Karie continued to make friends and was involved in researching her family history.   Karie continued her battle with cancer and was in and out of chemotherapy and surgeries for the last 4 years of her life. Karie never once mumbled, “Why ME?”.

Karie greeted each doctor and nurse with a smile and handshake. Her faith never wavered and her belief in Jesus Christ and in the gospel was what kept her “this is only but a moment” optimism and happy demeanor. Karie loved nature and especially the beach, she felt close to her Heavenly Father there. Karie was deeply touched by the acts of kindness shown to her by her friends and family throughout her life. Karie was a happy, loving, selfless individual and tried to show kindness to everyone she came in contact with.

Karie is survived by her son Ken, his wife Heidi, and her daughter Amber and Amber’s husband Derrick. She leaves 7 grandchildren (Austin, Morgan, Braydon, Sharia, Peyton, Bailey and Wyatt) and 1 great grandson Carson. Karie is survived by her older Brother Tipton and his wife Kathy and their 5 children and her younger brother Richard, his wife Lyn and their 6 children.

Karie will be missed. But more than that…. she will be celebrated.

08/08/16 09:03 AM #3    

Royce Goodwin (1966)

I didn't know Karie very well in high school. She was one of those smart kids, and I was a jock. But I knew who she was and liked her. She was always friendly, and had a great smile. I got to know her better at RCC because we had some common friends. I also knew her husbond Jerry They were both great people.

Royce Goodwin

08/08/16 09:24 AM #4    

J. C. Martin (1966)

My wife, Betty (Rogers) Martin, and I knew Karie quite well from the classes that we had with her.  She was always lovely, sweet and a much better student than me.  We were very sad to hear of her passing.  What a wonderful story her life represents.  We give our love and prayers to her family.


08/08/16 09:57 AM #5    

Pamela McKee (Ayala) (1966)

Karie was one of the nicest people.  Karie contacted me about attending one of our reunions.  I told her I was not going to be able to make it that year.  I now regret not going and spending time with her.  Rest in Peace Karie.  You were a sweet person.

08/08/16 10:56 AM #6    

Mark Lutter (1966)

Karie and I sat next to each other for a year in student council. For 9 months we quietly made smart-ass comments back and forth about the class, school and sometimes life. There was a good reason she was voted most humorous in the senior superlatives. I'll remember her big eyes and her bigger smile, and my condolences to her family.

08/08/16 02:42 PM #7    

Terry Sweeney (1968)

And now it's my turn to way in... I did not know Karie until recently.  I was contacted by Pam Ayala Mckee. She wanted to put her In Memory. I don't take that section lightly so I needed confirmation by a Obituary, or a family member or two Vikings who have previous knowledge and would be willing to say so in the narrative.  In 2009, I made the mistake at just by going by a list... a strange feeling to be contacted to find out that someone had breakfast wit one of those I had placed in memory. I knew Rick Odell as he was in my class. but he is not active on the website. So i emailed the first four years and you guys overwelmed me of sitings/contact with Rick. He made the confirmation and it became quick to see a picture of the person Karie appear.

So Karie this is for you, you made so many smile and laugh in the time you were here with us and many more along the way. You are just another shining face that will shine and be remembered "In Memory" walking the 'Halls of Valhalla' with all those others who you join and follow you... Back to a time of innocense (well maybe not all that innocent.. but the ststute of limitations has run out.) back to a time of school dances, football games, basketball games, assemblies, student councils, and planning for our futures. Yes back to the time when the sun was warm on our back and we were with the kids of our youth

So as long as I can there will be this site to keep you all remembered...

08/11/16 06:11 AM #8    

Sandra Livingston (1966)

I am so shocked and sadden to hear of Karie's passing.  Although I left for Houston after gradulating from RCC, I will always remember her for the laughter and good times we had at Moreno.  She was always up and ready to have a good time, and her sense of humor was contagious.  I am happy that she found her calling in life and was secure in her belief that you live on.

go to top 
  Post Comment


Click here to see Karie's last Profile entry.