Thomas LaFontine “Fountain” Odom, 85, a former state senator credited for his clean water advocacy, died Tuesday, Nov. 28, 2023, after a lengthy illness.
A celebration of life is scheduled for 1:30 p.m. Saturday at Steele Creek Presbyterian Church at Pleasant Hill in Charlotte. The family will receive friends in the church fellowship hall following the service.
Odom, a Democrat who served 14 years as a state senator, six as a Mecklenburg County commissioner, and six years on the Mecklenburg County Parks and Recreation Commission. He also served as chair of the Dare County Democratic Party.
He co-sponsored and supported the 1996 legislation that established the Clean Water Management Trust Fund, now known as the North Carolina Land & Water Fund, which to date has conserved more than 500,000 acres and protected or restored 3,000 miles of streams and rivers across North Carolina.
He is survived by his wife of 21 years, Carmen Hooker Odom of Charlotte, former secretary of the North Carolina Department of Health and Human Services who served as a member of the Coastal Federation’s Northeast Advisory Board and on the Coastal Federation Board of Directors.
Born April 18, 1938, he graduated from West Mecklenburg High School in 1956, attended Charlotte College 1956-57 and the University of North Carolina Chapel Hill. He graduated from the UNC School of Law in 1962.
Odom was admitted to the North Carolina State Bar in 1962 and began his professional life as a law clerk for North Carolina Supreme Court Justice William B. Rodman Jr. from 1962 to 1963. He served as Charlotte’s first assistant city attorney 1963-64.
He was a partner in Weinstein, Sturges, Odom, Bigger, Campbell and Jonas law firm. In 2003, he became attorney and counsellor of the United States Supreme Court. In semi-retirement, he was Of Counsel in The Odom Firm, PLLC, founded in 2000 by his son and daughter-in-law.
He worked closely with friend and former senator, the late Marc Basnight, on many pieces of legislation such as public education, jobs, and healthcare.
Fountain loved the history and mystery of Roanoke Island. He collaborated with Duplin Winery and Tinga Nursery to propagate cuttings from The Mother Vine, an over 250-year-old Scuppernong grapevine on Roanoke Island.
In 1960, he married the late Jane Lowe, who died in 1999. In 2002, he married Carmen Hooker, and resided in Raleigh, Manteo, New York City and Charlotte.
In addition to his wife, Carmen, he is survived by a blended family of six children, 11 grandchildren, and three great-grandchildren, siblings, nieces, nephews, cousins and friends.
In lieu of flowers, memorials may be made to Dementia Alliance of North Carolina, 9131 Anson Way, Suite 206, Raleigh, NC 27615 or https://dementianc.org.
Arrangements are by Kenneth W. Poe Funeral & Cremation Service in Charlotte. Online condolences can be shared at www.kennethpoeservices.com.