Jim O'Dea

of Howes, South Dakota, died on Tuesday, January 17, 2023
at Scotchman Living Center in Philip at the age of 81

James Stanley O’Dea was born on July 9, 1941, in Philip, South Dakota to John and Edna Bennett O’Dea. Jim was the 11th of 15 children and grew up on the family homestead near Ottumwa. He attended several rural schools in Haakon County where his mom often taught. Jim attended Philip High School while working at various jobs in the community. During his early years, he worked for different ranchers, the building of the Oahe Dam, and area missile bases.

On July 16,1962, he married the love of his life, Vonnie Buchert. To this union were born three daughters: Sheryl, Susan, and Holly. During the first years of marriage, Jim and Vonnie worked for a few different ranchers in the area. In 1970, Jim and Vonnie leased the Bierwagen place at Milesville, South Dakota for 20 years before purchasing the Nuzum ranch south of Plainview. Jim had a special talent for training horses which he did for many people in the community. He was a good cattleman and was very proud of his herd. He was also a good neighbor and enjoyed trading work with friends.

Jim belonged to the 11 Mile Roping Club for several years and later joined the H and M Roping Club where he became an honorary member. When he turned 50 years old, he enjoyed competing in the SDRA and NRCA associations in the Senior Men’s Breakaway and Team Penning. Jim developed great friendships through this experience and shared many stories of the fun times they had together. He has a few saddles and buckles to show for his efforts.

Jim had a strong set of ethics and horsemanship skills that he passed down to his children and grandchildren. He had a way about him that made you want to please him and not disappoint as he taught skills with kindness and patience. He loved to play cribbage and pitch with family and friends. He was the most popular person at the kitchen table as grandkids fought over whose turn it was to sit next to him. From their early years, Jim and Vonnie had a goal of owning their own ranch, which was achieved through dedication and hard work.

Jim was very proud that he and Vonnie celebrated 60 years of life together which was a testament of their love.

Survivors include daughters Sheryl Schweitzer of Gillette, WY, Susan O’Dea of Spearfish, SD, and Holly (Doug) Phillips of Piedmont, SD; eight grandchildren: Mary (Kyle) King, Tonya (Nick) Bunning, Rachel (Andrew) Olson, Garrett (Alyssa) Schweitzer, Amy (Troy) Wilcox, Michael Deichert, Jamie (Dakota) Spiker, and Paige Phillips along with ten great-grandchildren; sisters Phyllis Coleman of Philip, Maurine Hagler of Meredian, Idaho, Lillian (Eddie) Deknikker of Gettysburg, Mary Bauer of Oregon, and Rosella (Tom) O'Bryan of Bagley, MN; brothers Jerry, Leo, and Richard O'Dea, all of Hot Springs; and a host of other relatives and friends.

He was preceded in death by his wife Vonnie on November 13, 2022; his parents; brothers Dennis, Jack, Dean, and Gene O'Dea; and sisters Bonna Hagler and Lorraine Smith.

In lieu of flowers memorials may be directed to the Philip Area Health Foundation and the Philip Ambulance Service.

Visitation will be held 5-7 p.m. with a Christian Funeral Vigil starting at 7 p.m. Friday, January 20, 2023 at Sacred Heart Catholic Church in Philip.

A Christian Funeral Mass will be celebrated 10:00 a.m. Saturday, January 21, 2023 at Sacred Heart Catholic Church with Fr. Gerlach as celebrant assisted by Deacon Lloyd Frein.

A Christian Funeral Committal will follow at the Masonic Cemetery in Philip.

Service Details

Saturday, January 21, 2023 - 10:00 a.m.
Sacred Heart Catholic Church - Philip, South Dakota

Fr. Grant Gerlach
assisted by Deacon Lloyd Frein

Marianne Frein - Pianist / Maureen Palecek - Cantor
“On Eagles Wings” - “Pastures of the Lord”
“Be Thou My Vision” - “How Great Thou Art”
“O Loving God” - “Happy Trails”

Mike O’Dea

Tim Eymer - Jim Bob Eymer

All of Jim’s Grandchildren:
Mary King - Tonya Bunning - Rachel Olson - Garrett Schweitzer
Amy Wilcox - Michael Deichert - Jamie Spiker - Paige Phillips

All Relatives and Friends in Attendance

Masonic Cemetery
Philip, South Dakota

Guest Book

My thoughts and prayers are with you. Your parents will continue to live on through your memories.
   ~ Ruby I Gabriel Pedro, SD (1/19/2023)
We are thinking of all you folks. What a blessing he gets to be with Vonnie once more. Hold on to all the memories. Take care everyone.
   ~ Les & Joann Pearson Philip, SD (1/19/2023)
Prayers and sympathy to the O'Dea family
   ~ Pat and Carla Quinn Centennial CO (1/21/2023)
So very sorry. My thoughts and prayers are with you all.
   ~ Karla Pfeifle Weber RAPID CITY (1/24/2023)
Dear Family of Jim O'Dea, You will never forget the loss of your mom and dad is such a short spam of time. I can relate to the feelings you all have, as my parents died in a similar amount of time. Take consolation in the idea that they are both together again and that is what they would like. Sincere sympathy to you all. Take care of each other and savor the memories.
Cousin, Mary O'Dea Runyon

   ~ Mary O'Dea Runyon Leawod, KS (1/19/2023)
Dear Sheryl, Susan and Holly,
Blessings upon you and your families and also Jim's brothers and sisters who have endured too many losses within the year. Your folks are together again, celebrating all of you. Two remarkable people with lives well lived. I always looked forward to seeing them at the O'Dea reunions and loved our visit to the ranch. You have my heart, prayers and sympathy.
With love, Peg and John

   ~ John and Peg O'Dea Lippert 1112 Limerick Road (1/19/2023)
Family of Jim, so sorry for your loss. He and Vonnie are together again. Prayers to you all.
   ~ Everette and Darlene Fite Rapid City SD (1/21/2023)


Jim and Betty; Heidi, Marcy, Ashley, and Dustin
Marlan and Lennita; Gary and Colleen; Sonya and Steve; and Lauri and Cody
Justin and Megan Long and Kids
Lyle and Deb Wilcox
Deb, Kevin, and Family
The Eymers
The Staff at Scotchman Living Center
Ketel Thorstenson, LLP
Buddy and Marge Buchert
Dakota Country Pharmacy