Dr. James Lowell O’Daniel, 50, of Clinton, MS, died tragically August 3, 2019, from injuries he received after being struck by a vehicle during the 12th annual Bikes, Blues & Bayous Bike Ride in Greenwood, Mississippi.
Born February 18, 1969 in Cambridge, MA, Dr. O’Daniel graduated from Vergennes (Vermont) Union High School in 1986. He received his BS degree in Civil Engineering in 1990 from Cornell University and his Masters and PhD. from Penn State University in 1998. He joined the U.S. Army’s Engineer Research and Development Center the same year as a Research Structural Engineer where he continued to serve in ERDC’s Geotechnical and Structures Laboratory, performing research and development in the area of computational mechanics for blast, impact and penetration events. He was known internationally for his work and published many refereed papers in conferences and symposiums around the world.
Jim was passionate about his work, about sailing, about running and especially about his cycling. He was known widely in the Mississippi cycling community as a fierce competitor and compassionate mentor to all who needed encouragement. Whether inspecting the depths of the Sago mine disaster, exploring the inner workings of the Golden Gate Bridge assessing terrorist vulnerabilities, navigating the access tunnels of Cheyenne Mountain, sailing the open ocean from Biloxi to the Bahamas, cycling Vermont’s mountain gaps or just doing a “century” ride (100 miles) with his buddies on a typical Saturday morning, Jim lived life to the fullest with inspired intensity.
Previously married to Lynn Johnston of Brandon, MS, Jim is survived by her and by his mother Frances Griffis of Shelburne, VT, his father and stepmother, Michael and Susan O’Daniel of Vergennes, VT, four sisters: Cathy Fuller (Chris) of Vergennes, Nancy Zimmer (Mike) of Wilmington, MA, Sharon O’Daniel (Jason Fearon) of Vergennes, and Meghan O’Daniel of Burlington, VT. Jim will also be fondly remembered by seven nieces and nephews: Maggie, Burke, Logan, Grey, Petra, Emma and Nick. Also sadly left behind are two faithful companions: his cat Charlie and his feisty little black dog Vader.
His fellow workers at ERDC, the cycling, running and sailing communities of Mississippi and his family and many friends in Vermont join together as one in mourning the tragic loss of a brilliant, kind and wonderful man. God speed JimO.
Announcement of a Memorial Service planned for late August or early September in Vergennes, VT will be made at a later date. To send online condolences to his family please visit www.brownmcclayfuneralhomes.com