Odilon “Odie” Arambula, newspaper and humanitarian legend, passed away at his home October 19 in the morning surrounded by his family and loved ones. He died from complications related to pancreatic cancer at age 82. “We are deeply saddened by the loss of our father,” Little Mavis and Little Odie stated. “His decades of inspired leadership and humanitarian efforts will forever be missed by our family and those he impacted in our community and across South Texas.” Odie leaves behind a legacy of historical writings, humanitarian service in South Texas communities, and a strong devotion to his family. Born on January 1, 1935, in Colombia, Nuevo Leon, Mexico, Odilon “Odie” Arambula was a civic workhorse and mainstay of the Laredo Morning Times for nearly seven decades. And many saw him poised to assume a high-ranking position within the newspaper. But, after 46 years of service Odie officially retired in 2005. However, Odie still maintained his distinguished newspaper career by honoring us each week with his Monday column, his contributing stories, his special columns on historical events, plus his numerous public speaking engagements. Throughout his storied journalistic career and his entire life, Arambula contributed significantly to Laredo's civic and social arena. Those of us who have worked with him, and been fortunate enough to call him a friend, are truly blessed. There is only one Odie Arambula and he has seen it all. For more than 60 years, he covered some of the top local and regional stories, like the JFK assassination; the building of Interstate 35 and the Juarez-Lincoln International Bridge through the heart of downtown Laredo. He was there during the failed movement to relocate the courthouse. And he was on the spot during the rise and fall of a political powerhouse, the Independent Club (El Partido Viejo), and some of its leaders. Arambula, a master historian and storyteller of how Laredo evolved through the years, could pitch out stories like the press pitched out papers. He could recount details of political fights in the 1950s, 1960s and 1970s as if they had occurred just yesterday. And he did it always with wit and a great laugh. He understood the history and society of Laredo better than anybody, and the role a community newspaper plays. You can go anywhere in Texas and say 'Odie,' and people would know who you're talking about. He's universally known and respected throughout the community. He understood the pulse of the area and what drives government decisions. Arambula's quirky ways, eccentricities, irreverent humor and abrupt mannerisms are only part of the picture. Just as important, were his instincts and humanitarian spirit. He founded, served and worked in numerous capacities with many civic organizations, including the Kiwanis Club, Border Olympics, San Agustin Historical Preservation Society, Laredo Boys and Girls Clubs, Jaycees, LULAC, Republic of the Rio Grande, Laredo Development Foundation, the Chamber of Commerce, the Texas Daily Newspaper Association, the City of Laredo Historic and Conservation Society, just to name a few.He helped found what is now the South Texas Food Bank and was among those who started the Laredo Literacy Volunteers of America. He's been president of the Washington's Birthday Celebration Association, was named Man of the Year - Lo Mejor de Lo Nuestro by the LULAC Council, was named 2009 National Association of Hispanic Journalist of the Year by the Associated Press, was the recipient of the Hearst National Humanitarian Award, and was named Laredoan of the year by the City of Laredo. He was also the top influencer of the Ruthe B. Cowl Rehabilitation Center where he serves on the executive board for more than 45 years. He was honored by the center a few years ago. His close friend, Gary Jacobs, called Arambula, "One of the most modest, unsung heroes of Laredo's history. He was unassuming and kept a low profile.” Dr. Joaquin Cigarroa, a prominent member of Laredo's medical community, heaped accolades on Arambula -- “Odie has been a very sincere, humane person who is extremely sensitive to the needs of the community in education, health care and civic improvements. He has always seen the big picture, always featuring the issues and the critical needs that we have. In so doing, he contributed much in bringing important changes to the attention of state leaders." Odie grew up and up just like Laredo has grown -- he went from a high school cub writer in a little cow town to jefe of the major daily in a booming border city. After high school, Arambula attended Laredo Junior College and quickly became editor of its newspaper, The Roundup. He also worked part-time at the Laredo Publishing Company, headed by the late William N. Hall Sr., which published several regional weeklies, including the South Texas Citizen, later named the Laredo Citizen. As he had done at Martin High, Arambula graduated with honors from LJC in 1956, before transferring to the University of Texas at Austin, where he finished his major in journalism Sigma Delta Chi two years later, in 1958. Not bad for a kid who was one of seven children born to Matias Arambula and Feliz Ramos. After graduating from the University of Texas at Austin, Arambula turned down offers from newspapers in Austin, Beaumont and Dallas. He also had no plans for working at the Laredo Times. However, he eventually decided to come back and work for the Laredo Publishing Company again, this time as sports editor of the Laredo Citizen. In 1961, Arambula left town for a short sports writing stint at the San Antonio Express-News, followed by another at the Corpus Christi Caller-Times. In 1963, Arambula's big break happened when he became chief of their new Laredo bureau. For the next eight years, he worked out of an office space at the Laredo Publishing Company and finally joined the Laredo Times in 1971. In 1964, Arambula found his lifelong partner, Mavis, whom he married in that same year. "I lucked out with a chance meeting with this girl," Arambula said of his wife, who met Odie through handball and tennis matches. All the accolades and awards are well deserved and his family has been there for every single one of them, and knows exactly what this man has done. Odie’s wife said, “I am extremely proud of my husband. He is a wonderful man, mentor, hero, husband, father, grandfather and friend to so many. We were a private family but I was honored to have shared him with the community and know that he was an inspiration to so many.” Odie is survived by his wife, Mavis, daughter Mavis Medellin (David John), son Gerardo Odilon Arambula (Judith) and Odie Arambula, II (Gala), seven grandchildren, one great-grand child and his brother Arnoldo “Nondi” Arambula (Guadalupe). He was preceded in death by his daughter Estela Salvador, and brothers and sisters Alejandro Arambula, Matias Arambula (Esther), Maria Pena (Amado), Olivia Cruz (Oscar), Oralia Arambula and Ernestina Arambula. A viewing will take place Sunday, October 22, from 5-9pm, a rosary will be recited at 7 p.m. at Hillside Funeral Home, 310 Hillside Road, Laredo, Texas 78041. The funeral will take place Monday, October 23, at Hillside Funeral Home departing at 9:30 a.m., for a 10:00 a.m. mass at Holy Redeemer Church, 1602 Garcia Street, Laredo, Texas. Following mass, burial will take place at Calvary Catholic Cemetery, 3600 McPherson Ave., Laredo, Texas 78040. In lieu of flowers and in memory of Odie Arambula donation may be sent to the Ruthe B. Cowl Center, 1220 N. Malinche Ave., Laredo, Texas 78043. During Odie’s last months, many people impacted his quality of life. The family remains forever grateful for the kind, compassionate medical care of the University of Texas Cancer Therapy and Research Center, University Health System, Laredo Medical Group, and the following people – Dr. Ricardo Cigarroa, Dr. Francisco Cigarroa, Dr. Arora Sukeshi Patel, Dr. Devalingam Mahalingan and Dr. Rene Jaso. Nurses: Emily Hernandez, Veronica Guadarrama, Peter Palomo, Lety Liendo, Blanca Gonzales, Carol Sherman, Carolina Toole, and Altus Hospice. A memorial service celebrating the life and witness of Odie Arambula will be held at 7 p.m. on Friday, October 27, at St. Patricks Church, 555 E. Del Mar Blvd. The Hillside Funeral Home is assisting the family with the arrangements.