Ode leaves legacy of human kindness

ORANGE~ Humanitarian and conservationist Paul H. Ode died Saturday following a battle with cancer. He was well known and loved throughout the Amity area.

Since moving to Orange in the early 1990's, the 70 year-old gentleman played key roles in Orange Congregational Church affairs as well as town environmental issues.

According to Rev. Stoddon King, Ode was one-in-a-million.

“Paul was a generous, treasured person who always seemed to be looking for a need he could meet,” King said.

For years, Ode and his wife Judy organized and traveled with kids to Rutland, Mass spending time working on the Heifer Project International. This is a program that has been in existence since 1944. It was developed to assist Third World countries in becoming self-reliant and self-efficient.

Ode was a regular visitor at Columbus House, serving meals and sharing his wisdom and love. The courteous man could also be found filling bags with food at FISH too, a local food charity organization.

Just recently, Ode became involved in the resettlement of a refugee family from Bosnia, making sure they were settled in a comfortable home. He also worked to help ensure jobs were lined up. He was always doing something. Even during his recent hospitalization, he suggested to his wife they come back to volunteer as aids at the hospital.

When he moved to Orange, Ode became active in the Lake Wepawaug Association, immediately taking an active role, Dr. Ed Tucker said.

Since the early 1990's, Ode was active with the Orange Land Trust. He played an integral role pushing the Water Company to hold on to class 3 land and not sell it to developers.

First Selectman Mitchell Goldblatt praised him unconditionally.

“Paul made sure things happened. Anything that had to do with the land trust and conservation, he was always there. With his gentlemanly style he expressed his views strongly, not zealously. He is going to certainly be missed,” Goldblatt said.

He was a strong proponent for greenways in Orange actively getting the word out. He went to conferences regularly, developed relationships such as the one he had with the Housatonic Valley Association who recently sent a letter of support for the town's purchase of the D'Amato property.

In addition, Ode organized all the work done at the nature trails behind High Plains Community Center, recently named in his honor by the board of selectmen.

Tucker explained Ode's way of accomplishing his treasured tasks.

“Paul wasn't bashful about raising questions,” Tucker said. In fact Ode first proposed the plan for the use of Fred Wolfe Park. He spent a good deal of time thinking about open space.

In speaking of what Ode accomplished in his 70 years, Tucker reflected briefly.

“Paul leaves a legacy of interest in open space and willingness to spend untold hours at it that I think can not be replaced,” Tucker said.

A memorial service will be held at the Orange Congregational Church Saturday, June 17 at 10:30 a.m. Memorial contributions may be made to the Orange Land Trust, P.O. Box 7785, Orange, CT 06477.