Just one day apart, former Arlington mayors Robert Cluck and Elzie Odom each celebrated a big milestone in his life. On June 7, Odom and wife Ruby marked 70 years of marriage at an anniversary party with friends and family. One day later, Cluck was lauded at a gathering to celebrate his retirement from Texas Health Arlington Memorial Hospital and to herald a collective 46 years of medical and community service.
Four generations of Odoms gathered at Piccolo Mondo restaurant to applaud the storied couple for a long, successful married life. They were wed on June 7, 1947 in the small town of Newton.
“Ruby was the daughter of Elzie’s pastor at Mount Hope Baptist Church in Shankleville, Texas,” explained daughter Barbara Odom-Wesley. “They were childhood sweethearts and married shortly after graduating high school.”
Before coming to Arlington in 1979, Odom worked for the Postal Service for many years, eventually rising to the position of a postal inspector before he retired. He was the first African-American to serve on the Arlington City Council and became mayor of Arlington in 1997.
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Odom-Wesley said her parents were active volunteers in every community where they lived. “They attribute their long, happy marriage to always sharing everything and doing everything together. The most important attribute for their marriage success is putting God first in all things, she added.
A highlight of the anniversary evening was Facetime calls from the grandchildren who were unable to attend the party. The common sentiment expressed by those who were there and those joining by phone was what exceptional role models the Odoms are to the entire family. Earlier, their church family at Mount Olive Baptist Church honored the couple with a standing ovation for their marital milestone.
The festive evening ended with a special piano serenade and a champagne toast. “We cheered the Odom love through the decades from Shankleville to Arlington. God has truly blessed this 70-year union,” Odom-Wesley said.
Reception was surprise for Mayor Cluck
Pulling off a surprise reception was a tall order for the Arlington Memorial staff members who organized the June 8 event honoring Arlington physician and former mayor Robert Cluck, but they somehow managed to keep news of the occasion under wraps.
Cluck and wife Linda were congratulated in warm remarks from Arlington Mayor Jeff Williams, who praised Cluck for his remarkable civic service during his four terms as mayor preceded by two terms on the City Council. The hospital atrium was filled with well-wishers waiting to congratulate the couple as they head into retirement.
Cluck’s distinguished 23-year-career as an obstetrician-gynecologist was lauded by former colleagues and fellow doctors, several of whom spoke of his guiding influence on their medical practices and of his impact on their character and outlook on life.
Arlington Memorial President Blake Kretz praised the work of Cluck in his positions as vice president of medical affairs and as medical director for the past two decades.
The Clucks’ children, Kathie Baity, Jennifer Cluck and Trey Cluck, were among family and guests attending along with a host of prominent Arlington residents and city staff including City Manager Trey Yelverton, Fire Chief Don Crowson and Cluck’s former assistant Angie Summers. Also among the crowd were council members Kathryn Wilemon, Michael Glaspie and Charlie Parker.
The CEO of Texas Health Resources, Barclay Berdon, was on hand for the special presentation to Dr. Cluck along with Kirk King, executive vice president. The line of folks waiting to shake hands with the honoree was long, and the couple took time to chat with each guest during the festive occasion.
In his emotional and clearly heartfelt remarks to the crowd, Cluck expressed how honored he felt to have served alongside his colleagues and humbly spoke of times when he realized he didn’t have all the answers. He praised the hospital staff for the lifesaving work they do every day for patients and expressed confidence and comfort in knowing their remarkable commitment would continue far into the future.
Dental Health Arlington relocates
Dental Health Arlington may have a new address, but nothing else will change about the important services the nonprofit provides to families. Scores of guests were on hand at the open house last month to announce the clinic’s new location at 501 W. Sanford St.
Since 1993, the nonprofit has provided low-cost dental care to low-income individuals and families to help them avoid future health issues and emergency dental problems. SMILES, the nonprofit’s signature school program, educates 4,000 kids a year on the importance of dental care and provides sealants and toothbrushes.
Executive Director Nancy Blinn welcomed guests at the open house including council members Lana Wolff and Victoria Farrar-Myers. Attendees enjoyed refreshments and tours of the larger facility. Blinn expressed gratitude for everyone who attended and said the new clinic will continue the nonprofit’s excellent service to those in need.
“This has really been a joint community effort, from the capital campaign, to all of the donated cabinetry and equipment,” Blinn said. “We are so incredibly thankful for all the support we received, especially the Arlington Tomorrow and Amon Carter Foundations, Mr. Andrew and Dr. Amy Schoening and the United Way along with individual donations that will allow us to treat more people in need of low-cost dental services.”
To inquire, contact Blinn at 817-277-1165. Learn more at www.DentalHealthArlington.org.
Memorial service for Arlington World War II sailor set for Saturday
Many in the community will want to pay their respects at services for Seaman 1st Class George Anderson Coke Jr. at 1 p.m. Saturday at First United Methodist Church, 313 N. Center St. Coke was a graduate of Arlington High School.
Coke was 18 when he perished with 429 others aboard the USS Oklahoma during the surprise attack on Pearl Harbor on Dec. 7, 1941. For the past 75 years, Coke’s remains were interred at the National Memorial Cemetery of the Pacific in Honolulu and only in recent months has DNA analysis made it possible for a positive identification.
The Coke family is working with the Arlington Historical Society to plan the memorial service with full military honors. The public is invited to attend.
He will be buried at Parkdale Cemetery in downtown Arlington near his parents, George A. “Dutch” Coke Sr. and Julina Jane Tomlin Coke. Direct inquires to Geraldine Mills at the Arlington Historical Society, 817-460-4001.