Stephanie Rosenthal Odle
ODLE: Stephanie Rosenthal Odle was born in Pittsburgh on May 5, 1939, to Nathaniel Rosenthal and Dorothy Margolis Rosenthal. She graduated from the University of Pittsburgh in 1960 with a degree in education. In 1961, Steffie married Dr. David Odle, and she began a life devoted to her family, marriage, faith and community. Steffie was an inspiration to many in the Jewish community where she championed early childhood education and caring for congregants in varied ways. From 1980 to 1990, she served as the director of the Jewish Community Center’s early childhood education program, fulfilling a vision of integrating Jewish values into a preschool curriculum. Much of what Steffie created and implemented throughout her career remains an integral part of the JCC’s program today. Upon her retirement from the JCC, Steffie moved into her second “career” as a community leader, volunteer and visionary. She honed her skills through completion of the Machon para-Rabbinic program sponsored by the Union for Reform Judaism and years of Melton study. Steffie was also recognized by local and national organizations on whose board of directors she capably served. They include the boards of Congregation Emanu El, URJ Greene Family Camp, Jewish Federation of Greater Houston, Jewish Family Service, the Jewish Community Center and Women’s American ORT. As chair of the Jewish Federation’s annual Yom Limmud, Day of Learning, Steffie led and expanded the program to new heights. Working closely with Congregation Emanu El’s then Senior Rabbi Roy Walter, Steffie envisioned, established and chaired Caring Congregation, which provided congregants structured opportunities to actively assist and enhance of their fellow congregants. Emanu El honored Steffie with its “Congregant of the Year” award in 1995. Later in life, Steffie brought hope and encouragement to others facing health challenges. She served as a volunteer with the JFS Jewish Chaplaincy program, bringing her infectious smile and positive attitude to patients at M.D. Anderson Cancer Hospital. She was hospice trained and served as a volunteer at Hospice Houston for five years. Steffie always lived life to the fullest and especially displayed immense courage and resilience during her own battle with cancer. On Thursday, April 16, 2015, Steffie will posthumously receive the 2016 American Jewish Committee’s Helene Susman Woman of Prominence Award. Steffie loved to make memories with her family and friends. She and David traveled the world extensively during their 53-year marriage. Steffie lived every day of her life to the fullest, and she will be sorely missed by all that knew her. In addition to her beloved husband, David, she is survived by children Lisa and Bob Kaufman, Kenneth Odle and Jill Lindquist; grandchildren Ned and Danielle Kaufman; siblings Mark and Suzann Rosenthal, Bill and Ruth Odle Baker, and Margie Odle and Carl Bergman. Additionally, she leaves behind dear cousins Faylinda and Marshall Lindner and Sandy and Jim Hack. A memorial service was held in in Steffie’s honor on Monday April 13, 2015 at Congregation Emanu El in Houston, with Rabbi Roy A. Walter officiating. Memorial contributions can be made to the Jewish Community Center’s Steffie Odle Teacher Training Fund, Temple Emanu El’s Caring Congregation Fund, Jewish Family Service and Greene Family Camp. Arrangements by Waldman Funeral Care, Houston, Texas.