MORRIS McMEEKIN ODELL was born June 24, 1915 to Floyd Odell and his wife, the former Edna May McMeekin in Camden, New Jersey. He was named after his grandfather, Morris Odell, who was a prominent figure in Camden civic life, as Assistant City Clerk and with the Benevolent Protective Order of Elks, where he at times led both the city and state organizations, and his maternal grandfather, Thomas McMeekin. His father, Floyd Odell worked in Camden's shipyards. Morris M. Odell grew up in Camden's Cramer Hill neighborhood. The Odells were living at 3060 River Road when the 1920 census was taken on January 20th of that year.

When the Census was taken in April of 1930 the Odell family had moved to 939 North 31st Street.  Morris Odell would make his home in the 900 block of North 31st Street through at least the fall of 1977. During the 1930s Morris M. Odell had married Thelma Rich. Her father, Warren H. Rich, was a member of the Camden Fire Department. He and wife Thelma made their home at 939 North 31st Street.

Morris M. Odell was appointed to the Camden Fire Department on July 31, 1941. He reported for duty the next day. After ten days at the Fire Training School he was assigned to Engine Company 2, located at Fire Headquarters, North 5th and Arch Streets. He was assigned to the post of Battalion Chief's Aide on November 11, 1944. 

Morris Odell's father, Floyd Odell, passed away sometime after the spring of 1942. Mother Edna Odell resided next door at 937 North 31st Street. Morris and Thelma Odell were still at 939 North 31st Street as late as October of 1959. During the 1960s they moved across the street to 944 North 31st Street.

On December 15, 1949 William Van Pfefferle was selected to replace the retiring Walter Mertz as Chief Engineer of the Camden Fire Department. Chief Pfefferle selected Morris M. Odell to serve as his aide, a post which he held for over ten years. Morris M. Odell returned to Engine Company 2 in February of 1960. On January 25, 1961 Morris M. Odell was assigned to the Camden Fire Department's Maintenance Department, where he replaced Joseph P. Boone. 

On August 1, 1961, not long after Morris M. Odell was assigned to the Maintenance Department, his son, Robert M. Odell, was appointed to the Camden Fire Department.

Almost three years later to the day after his transfer to the Maintenance Department, on January 23, 1964, Morris M. Odell once again was assigned to the post of Chief's Aide, this time for Chief Edwin Michalak. 

After retiring from the Camden Fire Department, Morris Odell moved to Gloucester City, New Jersey. He passed away in February of 1980. 

Morris M. Odell's son, Robert M. Odell retired from the Camden Fire Department on February 1, 1993. Between father and son, the Odells had served the City of Camden continuously for over 51 years.

Camden Courier-Post
July 25, 1941

Morris Odell

Other individuals or family members who may be mentioned in this article include the following:

Jack Bowell
Samuel Leyman

Philip Farrow

Morris M. Odell and neighborhood friends - April 3, 1947
From Left: Unknown, Morris Odell, Francis Vecander (with tie), John Taylor,
 Unknown, Unknown, Unknown

The man in the hat might be Sam Bates, from North 27th Street.




Camden Courier-Post
April 24, 1948

William Earl Toy
William Harring Sr.
Harry Wagner Jr.
Frank Oberman
Morris Odell
Ervin Brennan
Christopher Moll
William Van Pfefferle
Lemuel Toy
Margaret Voll Toy
William Earl Toy Jr.
West Street
Federal Street
South 17th Street

Click On Images
For Enlarged View






Camden Courier-Post
February 6, 1980