ForeverMissed
The Zoom Funeral has been moved a week back to Saturday April 3rd and time changed to 4:30PM (PT)
Posted by laura botfeld on April 6, 2021
Dear Odening Family,
I was so sorry to hear of Debra passing! I think of her as always so strong and fit! ...she was a wonderful math tutor to my daughter Amanda! She was very dedicated to her students and so devoted to her handsome boys! She loved being a mom :) Sending sympathy and love from the Botfeld family.
Posted by Clara Kinney on April 3, 2021
Dear Odening Family,
We are saddened to hear about Debra's passing. A wife and mother is not replaceable. May you find comfort in loving and happy memories. Our prayers and thoughts are with you.

Clara and Robert Kinney
Posted by Roberta Beitch on April 3, 2021
I was sad to hear of Debra's passing.  I did not know her well; we only met in person once. We texted often and even when she had a bad day, Debra also asked how I was. I was amazed at her ability to teach although in pain. I would have loved to have had the time to know her better.  My condolences to all.

 



Posted by Allison Davis on April 3, 2021
To Campbell, Ryan, Cody, and Chase,

I’m so sad to hear about Aunt Debbie. I always loved talking with her about teaching and running at family get togethers. And I know I would have been able to bond more with her over being boy moms. She always had such a genuine interest and care for how others were doing. I’m really going to miss her. Sending you all love through such a hard time. 
Posted by David Early on April 2, 2021
To Campbell, Ryan, Cody, Chase and the whole family-
Debra was one of my favorite teachers at Saturn St. School. Because her sons had experienced the high level of music education in Santa Monica, as I did in my youth in the 70s, she was a great supporter of the instrumental music program. She was a dedicated advocate for her students who I taught, and helped me identify students who she knew needed the participation in music to benefit their lives. She was honest, straightforward, and had a heart of gold. I will always treasure our years of working together doing the job we loved.
Posted by T C on April 2, 2021
I was fortunate to have had the opportunity to know Debra. Such strength and character. Though we had only spoken on the phone a few times I truly enjoyed getting to know her and she continues to inspire me to do better.  Her love for her family shines bright.

Trishe
Posted by Linda Smaldino on April 1, 2021
Dear Cambell, Ryan, Cody and Chase:
I want to extend my sincere condolences on Debra’s passing. I didn’t know her very well, but know she fought a hard battle.
You have each other to cling to and remember the fond memories.
I won’t be able to make the zoom ceremony, but you will be in my thoughts!
Again, my sincere sympathy and God bless you!!
Posted by Donna Rosescu on March 25, 2021
Dear Ryan, Campbell, Cody, Chase;
I was very saddened to hear about your mom's passing, You all have been through so much. Know that you are in my thoughts, during this difficult time.
Luke and Cole have such fond memories of hanging out at your house during those Grant years, Debra always had a houseful. As moms, we would spend many hours watching soccer practices and games together. One thing was sure, Debra loved her boys and was very proud of all of you.
She will be missed.
Donna Rosescu

Posted by Rosie Fleming on March 23, 2021
Dear Odening Family,

When I met Debra, I was going through the most difficult time in my life. I had lost my brother 4 months prior. She asked me if I had any siblings and usually I would have said I have a sister and a brother and then changed the subject, but for some reason, I told Debra what had happened. She was someone I knew I could be honest with. Most people would have been uncomfortable, not knowing how to respond, but not she. She was calm and sincere, her eyes even teared... and I was a complete stranger. We spoke a lot about family. She spoke about you boys and how much she and Campbell loved being together with you more than anything else in life.

Over the last year, I was struck by her bravery and I would reflect on how she is someone to emulate when times get rough. In fact, you all are. I am so sorry. Even from the little I experienced of Debra, I know she was a big person and her loss is leaving a gaping hole in your lives. I am so glad I met her.

Love,

Rosie
Posted by Irit Raz-McBride on March 22, 2021
Dear Ryan, Campbell and family.
We were so saddened to hear about Debra passing. Her memory as a vivid, involved person with a constant smile on her face will always stay with us. The many hours she volunteered in school, the conversations we shared about our kids, how proud she was with all of you.  I remember the last time we saw her was on 4th of July celebration a few years back at the Santa Monica collage grounds. She wanted to hear all about Zoe and her doings. She had her way of embracing everyone around her. May she rest in peace.

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Recent Tributes
Posted by laura botfeld on April 6, 2021
Dear Odening Family,
I was so sorry to hear of Debra passing! I think of her as always so strong and fit! ...she was a wonderful math tutor to my daughter Amanda! She was very dedicated to her students and so devoted to her handsome boys! She loved being a mom :) Sending sympathy and love from the Botfeld family.
Posted by Clara Kinney on April 3, 2021
Dear Odening Family,
We are saddened to hear about Debra's passing. A wife and mother is not replaceable. May you find comfort in loving and happy memories. Our prayers and thoughts are with you.

Clara and Robert Kinney
Posted by Roberta Beitch on April 3, 2021
I was sad to hear of Debra's passing.  I did not know her well; we only met in person once. We texted often and even when she had a bad day, Debra also asked how I was. I was amazed at her ability to teach although in pain. I would have loved to have had the time to know her better.  My condolences to all.

 



her Life

Obituary

Debra Lynne Odening


24 May 1960       14 March 2021

Beloved wife and mother, Debra Odening, passed away peacefully, courageously and with amazing grace, in her Santa Monica home, at 4:24PM, on Sunday, March 14, 2021.  Debra fought off the return of cancer in 2015 after a 10 year hiatus.  For 6 long years, Debra and her family battled subsequent recurrences and treatments.  Throughout this battle, Debra taught full time, never bowing to the ravages of cancer- not even for a moment. She was a vital and fearless beauty.

Debra, AKA Mom and Dobie, liked to: talk and text with all her sons throughout the day, exercise in the mornings, plan for upcoming travel (especially Europe and Cabo), complete all the preparation for her teaching, shop for gifts for others online, tidy up the house, watch her programs in the evening, read, go for a bike ride, make plans with friends, and go to the movies and dinner.  She had an effortless discipline to her daily ritual. And oh- how Debra could do more than anyone in a day! Always planning and scheduling, she took care of all her boys’ friends and girlfriends while reminding us of upcoming appointments and to do’s.  She wasn’t shy about exhorting us to achieve but she was both savvy and cagey with her delight in our efforts to do so.  You always knew when she was thinking through something as her left hand would be twirling a wisp of her hair on her forehead.  She had this wonderful laugh and she was devoted to her cats- especially Cupcake and Crockett.  She had a big heart and she has all of ours. 

Born at Cedars Sinai, a 2 pound baby entering neonatal intensive care 3 months ahead of schedule, to her mother, Sarah, and father, Seymour, she was the middle child and only girl.  

Debra graduated from Webster Junior High, University High School, earned a BA with honors from San Francisco State and a Masters Degree from Cal State Northridge.  By the age of 11, Debra knew she would be a teacher.  Though born without sight in her left eye, Debra participated in multiple sports and activities like ballet and Girl Scouts growing up. Coached by her father, she excelled in sports, culminating in First Team All City as pitcher for 1978 University High School Women’s Softball Team- pitching all shutouts that year. As an adult, she continued a very active life: leading aerobics classes at Santa Monica Athletic Club (now known as The Bay Club), participating in marathons (with her future husband), and volunteering at her sons’ schools - all while teaching full time. 

Debra began her career in Santa Monica in 1982 as a substitute teacher at John Muir Elementary. She did a stint at Palisades Village School prior to teaching for Los Angeles Unified School District in 1986. Her years as special educator at Revere Middle School from 1991 to 2003 were her favorite, before taking a couple years off to be a fulltime mom. She returned to full time teaching in 2006 after fighting off her first bout with cancer. Her most recent assignment was at Saturn Elementary, where she’d been teaching since 2015, up until January 2021. 

Preceding Debra in passing are: her father, Seymour Kaiserman (1992); her brother, Gregg Kaiserman (1994); and her stepfather, Josef Karlowitsch (2020).

Debra is survived by her loving husband of 31 years, Campbell Odening (married in Palos Verdes, CA on August 5, 1990); her three loving sons, Ryan Odening (b. 1993), Cody Odening (b. 1994), and Chase Odening (b. 2000); her mother, Sarah Karlowitsch, and younger brother, Scott Kaiserman. 

Recent stories

My Bodyguard

Shared by Campbell Odening on March 28, 2021
The COVID-19 pandemic provided a unique opportunity for schools to observe the family life of students, during online learning while in quarantine. At this time, the boys and I were working at our place to be with Debra amidst failing health while she taught the first semester of school this year for her 4th & 5th graders.
I recall a class last November when a student's mother was interrupting Debra's Zoom lesson because the mother was angry with her daughter for answering a couple of things wrong.  Interruptions happened of course but this one stands out because Debra called the mother out immediately.  The girl's mom was running her daughter down and the girl just closed down- obviously mortified. Debra just stopped her teaching, told the mom to not interrupt class again and then gave this mom her own lesson. Debra told her she should never treat her daughter like that, that she cannot talk during class, and followed up with an impassioned explanation why it is far more important that a student participate in class and how wonderful it is to put her own answer out there when other children just rely their parent's answer.  She completed mom's lesson by telling the girl what a talented, intelligent, brave, and lovely girl she was for always doing her homework and how thankful she was to be this girl's teacher.