Before a standing room only crowd of friends and family, Councilman Roy Stewart — who served the city in that capacity since 1996 — took his Place 6 post for the last time earlier this month.
He thanked the citizens of Grapevine “for electing me to the City Council six times” and others he worked with during his long tenure.
The goodbye ended with Mayor William D. Tate asking the beloved octogenarian to take his seat for “one more time.”
After the presentation, Duff O’Dell, who was recently elected to fill his position, took his her place for the first time and began participating in her first council meeting.
After a runoff election last month, the votes were canvassed and O’Duff’s win was formally announced at the July 1 City Council meeting.
Jodi Brown, city secretary, said O’Dell received 972 votes to LuAnn Chapman Gatts’ 673 votes.
With the addition of O’Dell, the City Council features three woman and three men, in addition to the mayor.
City Council’s Place 6 drew four people seeking to take Stewart’s spot. Four ran in the May 10 election — the other challengers were Deverick P. Jordan and Marc Blum.
At election end, a runoff was required between O’Dell, who had 1,025 votes, and Chapman Gatts, who had 645 votes.
“From the beginning we fell in love with Grapevine and made a commitment to being involved in business and civic endeavors to promote our city,” O’Dell said, adding that she and her husband, Patrick have lived in Grapevine fore more than 30 years.
Three of their four daughters graduated from high school in Grapevine and their granddaughter is enrolled at Colleyville Heritage Elementary.
O’Dell has co-owned a business in Grapevine and served on multiple city and civic boards and says she has “a vested interest in helping keep Grapevine great for generations to come.”
“My heart and my home are here in Grapevine,” O’Dell said.
After 32 years of service, O’Dell retired from Delta Air Lines in 2005 as an executive in InFlight Service.
“As a corporate director I led a team of over 14,000 U.S.-based flight attendants, managers, schedulers and trainers,” she said. “I was accountable for the department’s overall job performance, federal safety standards and customer satisfaction metrics.”
Asked after the July 1 City Council meeting if his wife looked nervous,” Patrick O’Dell said, “Not all all. When you have to tell 135 people on a flight that they are being diverted to another city, that’s pressure.”
O’Dell said her leadership strengths are in strategic planning, sales and customer service.
“As a corporate director for Delta, managing my division’s budget of over $1.2 billion gave me a very strong financial background,” O’Dell said. “I was instrumental in helping lead our company through two airline mergers and the financial crisis and re-structuring following 9-11.”
After retiring from Delta, she joined Premier Bank Texas in Grapevine and served as a bank officer until 2012.
“Now I want to devote my full time focus to helping lead our city,” O’Dell said. “My extensive business and leadership experience as well as the many years I have lived and worked in Grapevine are critical success factors for the role of a City Council member. My goal is to vigorously participate in the discussions at the City Council level and make positive contributions to the decisions that will shape the destiny of our city for many years to come.
O’Dell said she lives in the greatest hometown in the world and wants to continue the progress “while protecting what we have built here and cherish.”
After taking her oath of office, she said, “I never worked so hard to continue working so hard.”
She added: It’s so easy to serve the . . . greatest city in the world as far as I’m concerned.”
Awards and recognition include Grapevine D. E. Box Citizen of the Year, Grapevine Woman of the Year, GRACE Senior Outreach Volunteer of the Year, Grapevine Ambassador of the Year and Grapevine Rotary Club Rotarian of the Year.
The O’Dells have four children and 13 grandchildren.