September 08, 2010

Friends of Lewis & Clark Remembered

Reverend Laing Sibbet, former Lewis & Clark trustee, Morgan Sayre Odell

The Reverend Laing Sibbet, former Lewis & Clark trustee, died January 1, of complications from a stroke he suffered the day before. He was 93. He lived in Benicia, California.

Sibbet was born and raised in Washington, D.C. He graduated from the University of California at Los Angeles and earned his master’s degree from San Francisco Theological Seminary. He served churches in Northern California and Oregon before settling in California. Sibbet’s most recent position was pastor of Trinity Congregational Church in Weaverville; he retired in December 2008 after serving there for eight years.

A strong supporter of community activities, Sibbet was proud to have served on the Board of Trustees, which he did from 1963 to 1970. He continued to follow Lewis & Clark’s progress for over 40 years. Survivors include his wife, Joanne; 4 children; 18 grandchildren; and 6 great-grandchildren.

Morgan Sayre Odell died May 5 in Fort Collins, Colorado, at age 89. He was a resident of Laguna Beach, California. Odell’s father, Morgan Samuel Odell, served as the first president of Lewis & Clark after the school changed its name from Albany College and opened its new Fir Acres campus in 1942.

Odell was born in Pasadena and attended Occidental College, where his father was professor of philosophy and religion at the time. After graduating in 1942, he was drafted into the Army and served two years. He married Betty Fletcher, whom he had met at Occidental, in January 1946, less than a month after his discharge from the Army.

The younger Odell began his professional career as a personnel examiner for the Los Angeles school system. Later he served as staff director for the Governor’s Committee on Medical Aid and Health, then as assistant to the chancellor of the California State University System. In 1968 he became director of the Association of Independent California Colleges and Universities. He retired from that position in 1985.

Morgan and Betty Odell raised their children in Los Angeles and moved to Laguna Beach in 1978. After he retired, the couple traveled extensively. Betty Odell died January 21, also at age 89.

Survivors include brothers Robert and David; daughter Constance “Connie” Sams BA ’69 and her husband, Laurence “Larry” Sams BS ’69; daughter Laurie “Corkie” Odell BS ’72; son Doug; 11 grandchildren including Julie Sams M.S. ’97, Graduate Certificate ’07; and 11 great-grandchildren.