Odo George Valentine

Odo George Valentine, 104, of 619 Washington Street, St. Marys, passed away Thursday, September 12, 2019, at Penn Highlands Elk, after a short illness.

He was born December 21, 1914, in St. Marys, son of the late Thomas and Mary Weis Valentine, and was a lifelong resident of St. Marys.  Odo was the last of nine siblings to pass away.

Odo was married on September 14, 1942, to his high school sweetheart, Ruth I. (Higgins) Valentine, who preceded him in death on October 25, 1984.  They were married for 42 years.

Odo is survived by four daughters, Mary Jo Barnes and her husband Steve of Denver, CO, Leah Wolfe and her husband Lawrence of St. Marys, Cynthia Shefcyk and her husband Samuel of St. Marys, and Michelle Smith and her husband Ben of Osceola Mills, PA; a son, Patrick L. Valentine of St. Marys; nine grandchildren; and by 12 great-grandchildren.

In addition to his wife and parents, Odo was preceded in death by two sisters, Lenore Valentine and Corrine Valentine; and by eight brothers, Walter, Firmin, Thaddeus, Tron, Aubert, Barr, Fabian, and Lo “Bud” Valentine.

Odo retired from the United States Postal Service in 1977, after 25 years of service.

He was the last of the old time barnstormers and put on airshows all over the country.  His last airshow was on June 5, 1976 for the Bicentennial of St. Marys.

Odo was a combat aerobatic instructor in the Army Air Force’s 56th Pilot Training Detachment, serving for six years during World War II and the Korean War.  He trained American, English, French, and Chinese cadets.  In 1944 he was hospitalized for three months recovering from injuries suffered during a training accident.  In 1945, Odo became a member of the Air Force’s distinguished Caterpillar Club, having survived an emergency parachute jump from a disabled aircraft.  He held both private flight instructor and commercial pilot certifications.

Perhaps the most notable flying excursion was his 1939 stunt when he flew his bi-plane sideways under a portion of the Kinzua Viaduct Bridge while traveling 110 miles per hour.  Odo was 25 at the time.

In 2011, Odo was a Guest of Honor at the ribbon cutting for the bridge’s Sky Walk.  His story is currently featured at the Kinzua Bridge Visitor’s Center.

Odo also had the honor of being the Grand Marshal for the 175th Anniversary parade for the City of St. Marys.  Up until his death, Odo continued to visit the St. Marys Airport, spending time with his flying buddies and remembering friends that had passed on.

There will be no visitation.

Family and friends are invited to attend a Funeral Service to be held in the Lynch-Radkowski Funeral Home on Friday, October 4, 2019, at 11:00 AM, with the Rev. Michael Gabler, OSB officiating.  Full military rites will be accorded by the St. Marys Servicemen’s Burial Detail.  Burial will be in the St. Mary’s Cemetery.

Donna Holjencin September 16, 2019 at 2:54 pm

To all Valentine family,
What a beautiful life your legendary father has lived. We are so happy we knew him and have great memories with him and you all as our neighbors.
God needed his own pilot so now he is with your Mom.
You all have our deepest sympathy. God bless you all.
Rest In Peace, Odo. Thanks for the memories, our neighbor.
Your neighbors,
The Boots and Marie Breindel Gang

William Vanzanten September 16, 2019 at 7:11 pm

He lived a rich and fun filled life. Go rest high on that mountain, Odo.

Larry and Kathy Nekuza September 17, 2019 at 7:50 am

Dear Valentine kids, So saddened to hear about your sweet Dad. We have the best memories of him and your sweet Mom Ruth. They helped to raise the entire neighborhood. All our love and stay strong together.
Larry and Kathy Breindel Nekuza
Bradenton, Florida

Remembering the Washington Street kids and the Bunker Hill Gang forever……

Robert D Carnes September 17, 2019 at 11:15 am

So sorry to hear of Odo’s passing. He was a great man and pilot. Enjoy all his wonderful past stories and memories. R.I.P. Odo

Fred and Jeani Herbst Lecker September 18, 2019 at 5:19 pm

Our prayers for all the family. Jean’s Daddy and Odo were friends years ago and Joe Herbst admired Odo and his cavalier ways for years. His daughter Mary Jo and Lindy Herbst were high school friends. We always asked about Odo when we came home from Colorado. He was a town pied piper in his day and always to be admired for his service to our country. God Bless You All.

Dr. Gary Means September 23, 2019 at 11:04 am

Dear Pat, Mary Jo, Leah, et. al. Please accept my personal condolences for the loss of your “special” father. I’ve been away from St. Marys for many years but have been aware that Odo was indeed a legend. It was my great pleasure to see him about 10 years ago while visiting my son’s wife’s family who live “up on Bunker Hill.” He and I had such a great talk in the driveway beside his sports car. We reminisced about the time he took Pat and I for an airplane ride-my first. Thankfully he didn’t get too crazy with his stunts that day. May God’s peace be with you all at this difficult time. Gary

Meredith Dailey October 3, 2019 at 11:16 am

Just wanted to express my condolences to your family. Your dad will be always be remembered as funny and I always admired his accomplishments!! I was always amazed to hear of his famous flying stunts! Again, sorry to hear of his passing.


Leave A Condolence

Previous Obituary:

Next Obituary: