In memoriam: Eugene Pleasants Odum, 1913-2002

The Auk
By:  and 



Eugene Pleasants Odum, a Life Member of the AOU since 1932, an Elective Member since 1943, and a Fellow since 1951, died 10 August 2002 of an apparent heart attack while tending his garden. Gene was born in New Hampshire on 17 September 1913 and spent most of his childhood and college days in Chapel Hill, North Carolina. He developed a keen interest in birds and natural history during grade school, encouraged by his cousin, Dr. George Mayfield of the Tennessee Ornithological Society. At high school, Gene and his friend Coit Coker started a bird magazine and a newspaper column called “Bird Life in Chapel Hill.” Gene never tired of teaching and used every opportunity to inform people enthusiastically about birds and the environment. While at home on breaks from graduate school, he taught his younger brother Howard Thomas Odum (1924–2002), then in high school, much of the ecology that he learned from pioneers such as Victor E. Shelford and his major professor S. Charles Kendeigh. Howard, known as H.T. or Tom, described Gene as one of his five great teachers. Gene developed his holistic vision of science in part from the sociological teachings and interdisciplinary approaches of his father, sociologist Howard W. Odum.

Publication type Article
Publication Subtype Journal Article
Title In memoriam: Eugene Pleasants Odum, 1913-2002
Series title The Auk
DOI 10.1093/auk/120.2.536
Volume 120
Issue 2
Year Published 2003
Language English
Publisher American Ornithological Society
Contributing office(s) Patuxent Wildlife Research Center
Description 3 p.
First page 536
Last page 538
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