Indicates Matter Stricken
Indicates New Matter
The Senate assembled at 12:00 Noon, the hour to which it stood adjourned, and was called to order by the PRESIDENT.
A quorum being present, the proceedings were opened with a devotion by the Chaplain as follows:
In Psalm 111 we read:
"Praise the Lord." And the Psalmist continues: "I will extol the Lord with all my heart in the council of the upright and in the assembly." (Psalm 111:1)
Please, friends, bow with me as we pray:
Holy and Merciful God, we gather in this Senate Chamber today at the outset of yet another legislative year for this Body, and more than ever, Lord, do we implore Your presence in this place and in the minds and hearts of these Senators and their staff members. As they all strive to accomplish good for the people of our State this year, we ask that You bless each of these servants with a desire to do that which is truly worthwhile, as well as that which brings You honor, dear God. Know that we gather today with heavy hearts, reflecting as we do upon the absence of Senator Billy O'Dell. We are grateful, Lord, for the late Senator's 27 years of devoted leadership to the people of South Carolina. Bestow Your care upon his dear family, strengthen them in this difficult time as You alone can. And all of this, O Lord, we pray in Your loving name. Amen.
With unanimous consent, the Chaplain was granted the privilege of the floor to lead the Senate in a memorial of the life of Senator Billy O'Dell.
"Comfort, comfort my people," the prophet Isaiah cries (40:1). And so the Lord does -- always. Nonetheless, how discomforting it is to enter this Chamber today and -- once again -- to observe a Senate-desk draped in black, to think about the pain of our loss, to reflect on the fact that one of the Senate's own will not be physically coming in to join us this afternoon.
Since 1989 Billy O'Dell faithfully served this Body. Caring, effective, ever-ready with a smile and a warm handshake, Senator O'Dell left his mark in so many positive ways. And likely the very best way this Senate can now honor the late Senator is to continue faithfully laboring for the people of this State -- this State that Senator O'Dell loved so very much.
We truly do remember the Senator's loving family this afternoon, of course -- Gayle, Chip, Michelle, all the other family members -- and his many, many friends. And we ask the Lord to hold them tightly in his loving embrace, leading them through these difficult days as they face each one with the reality that someone so very dear to them is no longer at their side. Truly, comfort, comfort, your people, O Lord!! Comfort all of your people!
Let us once again join our hearts in prayer:
Glorious and Ever-loving Lord, hear us this afternoon: strengthen this Body, comfort Senator O'Dell's family, and lead us all forward, O God, confident of your presence with us, encouraged by your Spirit's grace, truly warmed by your unfailing love.
May this Senate continue doing its utmost best for all of the people of South Carolina, Lord. Allow these servants to honor the memory of Senator O'Dell now by doing their very best for each woman, for every man, and for each child here in South Carolina, working harder than ever to achieve good, to accomplish things that truly are worthwhile and of lasting value to our State, to lead us all through these challenging days in which we live. And may we all feel your loving presence with us, O God, every single step of the way.
All of this, dear Lord, we humbly pray in your wondrous, loving name! Amen.
Senator LEATHERMAN rose for a reflection on the life of Senator O'Dell.
Thank you Mr. PRESIDENT. We come with heavy hearts today. Yesterday, I and many others attended a beautiful ceremony in Greenwood. It was one of the prettiest I think I've seen. It was great to see how many of his family, friends and Senators were there to celebrate his life.
Let me just share with you, if I may, a few things, about BILLY O'DELL. Billy was a man who could disarm people with his calm demeanor and common sense of point of view. He was a family man who loved his wife Gayle, of 50 ½ years she told me yesterday, their children and grandchildren. He cherished every moment he had with them. Billy was a friend to Senators and staff alike and was the type of man who did things for those who could do nothing for him and expected no recognition for those deeds. He had a love for The Citadel, that was only matched by his love for serving in this Body. As a Senator, Billy was not afraid to tackle hard issues and was a tireless worker. Those that worked with him on committees and with various issues dealing with our State know that. He will be truly missed, not only as a Senator, but as a friend. Certainly a friend of mine, a friend of yours Senator PEELER, and a friend to everyone in this Chamber. That was the BILLY O'DELL that I knew.
There is a verse in the book of Ecclesiastes that tells us, "To everything there is a season. There is a time to weep and a time to laugh." Today is the time for the institution of the South Carolina State Senate to weep as we remember and honor the service of our friend and colleague, Senator BILLY O'DELL.
Senator PEELER rose for a reflection on the life of Senator O'Dell.
Thank you, Mr. PRESIDENT and members of the Senate. This past Thursday, we had our annual gathering with the reporters and broadcasters where the Legislators would come in as a group and give our prognosis of what we had to look forward to in the upcoming session. Senator DAVIS was on the panel with me. About midway through the panel, Senator DAVIS leaned over and said, "Senator O'DELL just passed." I became numb, I still feel that numbness. It is hard to believe that Billy is no longer with us. I felt it this past Thursday and I feel it today. When I met BILLY O'DELL, he was not a Senator, he was a candidate for the Citadel Board of Visitors. He was right outside. I liked him when I first met him. His calm, even demeanor, I liked it, because I need people like that around me. I mentioned him to my brother Bob. I told him, "I like that guy" and my brother said, "Let me tell you why; he reminds us of our Uncle Luke Parker." Luke Parker married one of my mother's sisters, Margaret. But he did remind me of Luke, business man, mild-mannered, very calm, and hard to rattle. When I think of BILLY O'DELL, I think of his love for the Citadel, his love the Senate, his love for the State of South Carolina and his distaste for politics. We are all politicians in here, but he wasn't. He was a true public servant. He did not like politics, he did not like politicking, but he enjoyed public service and it showed. He was more of a businessman. He came from a business background. We are going to miss him. I'm going to miss him. To his family and constituents, thank you for sharing BILLY O'DELL with us. Thank you from me personally. Thank you from the Republican Caucus. Thank you from the Senate. On behalf of the people of South Carolina, thank you to the O'Dell family and the employees of the O'Dell Mop Company and the constituents of his senate district. Thank you for sharing BILLY O'DELL with us.
Senator SETZLER rose for a reflection on the life of Senator O'Dell.
Mr. PRESIDENT, ladies and gentlemen of the Senate, I do not know that any of us thought that we would be here on this opening day having a memorial service for our dear friend, Senator BILLY O'DELL. This State and the South Carolina Senate, which we all love, have had a year. The massacre in Charleston and the loss of our colleague, Senator Pinckney, the loss of Mrs. Matthews, the flood, and now the news of Senator O'DELL's passing. When we walked through those doors and saw the black cape draped on his desk, just as we did with Senator Pinckney, it brought home the reality of what had occurred. You try to put it out of your mind and think it is not true.
Senator O'DELL was a tremendous public servant. During the past 26 years, I not only had the opportunity to serve with him, but I had the opportunity to get to know him as an individual outside this Chamber. His family, just as my family, vacationed in Charleston on the Isle of Palms, and our children grew up there. One session, probably ten years ago, Senator O'DELL learned that we were going to be on vacation at the same time. He knew I played golf and asked me to play a round. I told him I had not played very much and honestly was not very good. He told me he had not played in three years. As background, this is the middle of July, it must have been 160° on the golf course, and Senator O'DELL did not quite tell me the truth. He not only had not played golf in three years, but he probably had not played in his lifetime. We were out there six hours, and all we wanted to do was finish and get inside.
I also got to know him from the conversations here and would like to reference words as spoken by the preacher at the funeral, "Billy always had an angle." Senator O'DELL was an incredible businessman and investor. I talked with him several times about his investment property and the many ways he made money. One time he sold a place in Charleston, and he came in and showed me the check. On that one investment, he made more than I might make in a lifetime.
I have fond memories of him propping up against that rail and having the opportunity to talk with him. If you asked him a question, he was going to tell you exactly what he thought. He did not mince any words or sugar coat anything.
I think highly of Senator O'DELL and his service. Some people refer to Senator O'DELL as a Republican, some people refer to him as a Democrat or a former Democrat, and some people refer to Senator O'DELL as a RINO. I refer to Senator O'DELL and will always remember him as a bipartisan centrist. He understood that you had to work across the aisle, and the only way we ever got things done was in a bipartisan effort through the center part of this Body. I will always remember him for that.
He was fiercely committed to the things in which he believed. He was committed to his family, his friends, his constituents, the Senate, and he understood the traditions of the Senate and The Citadel. He was a humble human being -- one trait that we all hope and ask for each day. He did not take this podium much, but when he did, people listened. He worked tirelessly on behalf of his constituents and this State in committees, subcommittees and with his fellow colleagues and will be dearly missed.
This entire Senate will miss BILLY O'DELL. He was a man of grace, a man of humility, and a man of integrity. He lived a great life, and the way he lived his life represents the values for which he stood. Thank you.
Senator BRYANT rose for a reflection on the life of Senator O'Dell.
Mr. PRESIDENT and members of the Senate, I come to you as the Anderson County Senate Delegation. I am by myself. The saying goes, "Is the glass half empty or is the glass half full?" The Senate delegation is half empty. Last Thursday morning, there was an event in Anderson hosted by the Chamber of Commerce called "Toast and Topics." They invite the delegation and have our seats arranged with our names. They had my seat, with my name, Billy's was next to me, to supervise me I guess, but the chair was empty. We did not know at the time that we had lost a dear friend and colleague. We thought Billy was caught in traffic or something. I was sitting there with my nameplate and there was Billy's nameplate, and he was not there, I will never forget that.
Billy's granddaughter's eulogy yesterday was particularly moving and touched me. I saw something else, I don't know if you saw this or not, probably not everybody did, but as we were leaving and the bagpipe player was playing Amazing Grace, I could see Mrs. O'Dell, Gail, singing Amazing Grace. That was moving to me as well.
Gail, we have been praying for you and we will continue to pray for you. We just want to remember Billy and his calm presence as a statesman. Thank you, Mr. PRESIDENT.
Senator LARRY MARTIN rose for a reflection on the life of Senator O'Dell.
Thank you, Mr. PRESIDENT and members of the Senate. You know, while driving down today, I thought about the first time Senator O'DELL and I met. That stands out with you, the first time you meet someone. I first met him in the early 1980's, when he approached me about running for The Citadel Board. At that time, we were both in the manufacturing business. He was in business at Ware Shoals and he took note of the fact that I was still working in the textile industry and making something. Senator O'DELL had great respect for the idea of making something. He was a very astute, shrewd investor, as we all have come to learn, but it was important to him that his core business be in manufacturing -- to make something, to be productive and to provide jobs and make an investment in one's community. He did that.
Senator O'DELL ran for the Senate and was elected as a freshman Senator in the 1988 election. Then I came in 1992 with about thirteen other Senators, a big class that came in, and he immediately moved to the big office. I approached him because we came from the same area of the State, and said to him, "Well, Billy, if you're going to be in one of the big offices, do you mind if I'm in the smaller office?" Oh, he thought that was great, and we roomed together. As a matter of fact, our administrative assistant was somebody that had worked for me, and retired working for me, Kay Hunter. Many of you remember her working here for a few years. I talked with Kay this morning about what a great, great guy Billy was. The thing I remember most about Billy is that he didn't take this podium very often, but when he did, as Senator SETZLER mentioned, you better listen because he had something to say. The thing that I also remember about Senator O'DELL was that, as he sat there and other places in this Chamber over the years, he didn't do very well in extended debate. Being the typical, straight shooting business man that he was, when we got late into the evening and it was just dragging on and no progress was being made, he was ready to go. He would often say to me, "Don't you have a way of getting us out of this, can't we move on?" But, I'll tell you, I know about his love for our area of the State and his love for the institutions that he served. Behind the scenes, I don't think a single Senator in here, and we have a lot of great guys, but I don't think a single Senator in here has contributed more to their local communities than Senator O'DELL did during his outstanding career. He really fought for what he believed in whether it was Disabilities and Special Needs, or Lander University there in his back yard, or Tri-County Technical College, and of course we know about The Citadel that he so dearly loved. I thought the service yesterday was a fitting tribute. Many of us were there, some couldn't be there, but many of us were there and it couldn't have been a more fitting tribute to a true gentlemen who has graced this Body with his great service. Senator LEATHERMAN, you stole my scripture. In a very similar way, the scripture spoke to me and we must have had the same thought about the wisdom writer in Ecclesiastes. In about the third verse of that third chapter, it talks about a time to weep and a time to mourn, but the second verse, after that opening line about there is a time and season for everything under the sun, there is also a time to be born and a time to die. You know, that reminds us all just how precious the time is that we have here -- the time that we have with our families, the time that we've been blessed with and we don't know when that time will end. We don't know, but we thank God for that time that we had with BILLY O'DELL. Thank you.
Senator NICHOLSON rose for a reflection on the life of Senator O'Dell.
Thank you, Mr. PRESIDENT. It is hard to come up with words about my dear friend BILLY O'DELL. When I was first elected to the Senate a few years ago, Senator O'DELL called and said, "Well Floyd, we are going to share a suite together." I told him that it made me feel really proud for him to want me as a suitemate. Billy and I go way back. I was the Mayor for 14 years and served on City Council for 11 years. I've always known Billy as one you could call on. If you needed some assistance, you could call Billy. He would let you know what he could do for you. If he could help you, he would let you know. If he couldn't help you, he would let you know. There were several things that were very dear to Senator O'DELL. The first thing was his family. He loved Gail, his children and especially his grandchildren. At the beginning of December, I was talking to Billy and told him that we had a meeting together. He said that he could not attend. He had a grandson who had joined the National Guard, who was graduating from basic training. He said, "I have to go to my grandson's graduation." He was so proud of his son and his is granddaughter who is going to Clemson. He was proud of her doing very well at Clemson. Bill loved his family. He loved his community of Ware Shoals. Years ago, Regal Textiles was in Ware Shoals. They took care of Ware Shoals. Whatever they needed, Regal Textiles provided. Then Regal Textiles closed down and left the area abandoned. Senator O'DELL still worked hard to keep that community together.
Let's talk about disabilities and special needs. Senator O'DELL hired people with disabilities and special needs to work in his company. I know several from the Burton Center who lived in the Ware Shoals area, that Senator O'DELL hired. Billy served on the school board for a while. He was concerned about education. He was particularly concerned about those rural kids in Ware Shoals receiving a good education. He loved to serve in the Senate. He loved service. Just like Senator LARRY MARTIN said, there came a time when Billy said, "Hey, it's time to get out of here." He said, "It's time to go home." He had to get back to his family and business. I remember the last time I asked Billy if he was going to run again, and he said, "No, I'm not going to." Shortly after that he said, "Oh yeah, I'm running again." He was very excited and he contributed so much to make our State a better place. He believed in serving the people and not the party. He did what was right for the people. We can learn a lot from Senator O'DELL. He was a true statesman and a servant for the people who did not want recognition. He was willing to do what was right for the people and he is getting his recognition right now. Thank you.
Senator LOURIE rose for a reflection on the life of Senator O'Dell.
Thank you, Mr. PRESIDENT. I have not had the pleasure of knowing Senator O'DELL for as many years as many of you did. I got to first know him when I served in the House. As you know, he was a well-dressed man and I can tell you where he bought his clothes from. He would always come in, and as you might imagine, he would always buy the nicest garments at the lowest price. But, I just want to say very briefly, I had the pleasure to attend yesterday and it was a beautiful service. Billy's granddaughter, his business partner and our former colleague and Lt. Governor, Senator McGill, all did a fantastic job. I don't know that I have ever seen Yancey McGill so moved and I got to thinking about a time Senator McGill, Senator O'DELL and myself were back in the President Pro Tempore's office over here, right on the corner of the State House. We were talking to a candidate who was running for a university board, and this particular candidate thought he was doing much better than he was. Senator McGill said to me, "Come on Joel, let's you me and BILLY O'DELL go back there and talk to him." So we went back there. You know how Yancey can get a little bit animated and he said, "Let me tell you something, bo, it ain't going to happen, bo. You need to get out. You are going bash yourself, bo. Tell him BILLY O'DELL, tell him." Billy just sat there just like this the whole time (arms crossed). Then he said, "Joel, you tell him." and I said, "The votes aren't there. I don't know whose counting for you but the votes aren't there." Yancey said, "Bo, you need to get out, you need to get out. Tell him Billy, tell him." Billy just sat there. So finally he looked at Senator O'DELL and said, "Senator O'DELL, what do you think?" Senator O'DELL said, "You need to get out." And that was it. I can't help but also mention Kathy Marsh and Mason Thomas who served on his staff and did a wonderful job. I know what a difficult time it is for both of you. I want you to know on behalf of the Senate that we appreciate your love and commitment to him as well. Thank you, Mr. PRESIDENT.
Senator ALEXANDER rose for a reflection on the life of Senator O'Dell.
Thank you Mr. PRESIDENT and members of the Senate. I rise to pay tribute to my friend BILLY O'DELL. He was a good man. I Timothy 2:2 says, "We may live peaceful and quiet lives..." and that characterizes Senator BILLY O'DELL. That was his spirit. He was quiet, but got the job done. He was respected, appreciated and a peaceful man.
I worked with BILLY O'DELL in many different capacities in his service here in the Senate and had the privilege of serving on the Health and Human Services Subcommittee with him. When I became Chairman of the Labor, Commerce and Industry Committee, one of the first people I went to was Senator BILLY O'DELL and I said to him, "Billy, I would like for you to serve as Chairman of the Occupations and Professions Subcommittee because of your background in business and your experience here in this Senate. I think you would make a great subcommittee Chairman." Without hesitation, he accepted that challenge and served with distinction all these years. When I think about the opportunity I had to serve with him on the Health and Human Services Subcommittee, it was truly about putting other people first and about what was right for the State of South Carolina and our citizens. I don't know of a better legacy you could have than that.
Billy was always looking out for the less fortunate, whether it be the mental health area, disability and special needs and so many others like The Citadel, economic development and many others things. I saw him being compassionate and determined to help in any way he could. He was especially a champion for the Greenwood Genetics Center and so proud of the work they do. One of my favorite poems, The Dash, is about the time in between the date of birth and the date of death on the tombstone and what you do with it. BILLY O'DELL has done a lot. He has done a lot for his family, country and State and we are a better place because of him.
It was mentioned that we need to be more aware of the opportunities of being together, whether it's being on the golf course when you haven't played in a while or just creating memories. A few days before we went to the Greenwood Genetic Center, Billy called to make sure I was still coming because he wanted me to see firsthand the work that is being done. He was proud of the opportunities there, the international recognition that the center received for their work on autism research and the cutting edge milestones in dealing with autism.
I am so grateful, not only for his friendship, but for the opportunity to cherish that memory of time spent together and the opportunity to see Billy demonstrating his care and compassion for those he didn't know.
I will miss my dear, good friend Senator BILLY O'DELL. May God be with his family, friends and staff as we all mourn and feel great sorrow for our loss. God bless his soul.
Senator CROMER rose for a reflection on the life of Senator O'Dell.
Thank you Mr. PRESIDENT. I don't usually take the podium, especially under emotional moments like this. It's a little hard for me to get through but it is appropriate since Senator O'DELL was my desk mate and former suitemate.
I met Senator O'DELL when I shared an office with Senator Ford, who was a great suitemate. Everyone told me, "You'll never be able to get anything done in that office," but nothing could have been further from the truth. Senator Ford was one of the best suitemates I ever had.
About a year and a half later, I had the opportunity to move into an office with Billy. A year or so later, one of the coveted offices on the 6th floor overlooking the State House grounds opened up and I said, "Well, that would impress all of my friends and neighbors," so I moved. I hated leaving Billy. A little over a year after that, Senator Richardson was appointed Director of Insurance by Governor Sanford and that left a vacancy in our suite. I thought I might get to move into the big office but, lo and behold, Senator O'DELL came up and he and I became suitemates once again.
Senator O'DELL was a prince of a gentleman. I used to refer to him as the other Billy O'Dell because I knew another Billy O'Dell that traded with me and lived in Newberry who was a well-known baseball pitcher. Some of you older guys can remember Billy. He was a tremendous baseball pitcher. I started talking about BILLY O'DELL and what he had done for me and folks would mistakenly think I was talking about Billy O'Dell from Newberry.
Senator O'DELL genuinely was a wonderful man and public servant. Senator SETZLER, what you said about him, well, that's how I would describe him to people who did not know him. He was a quiet guy, but he always tried to do everything just right. He wanted to be fair. It didn't matter if he was voting with somebody on the far right or somebody on the far left. He was going to vote for what was right for the people and right for the State of South Carolina. I have to say he was a great guy.
Senator O'DELL was very successful in business. I never once heard anybody say what he was making in his business and we joked with him all the time about being in a business where he really "mopped up" and he would take it as the pun it was intended to be. He never bragged about it. In fact, I think Billy really enjoyed being down here more where he worked diligently to take care of the business of the State and to help his constituents. On Thursday afternoons, I would look at him and say, "Billy, I think I might be going to Edisto this afternoon." He'd say, "I think my wife is already down at the Isle of Palms. I need to get out of here so I can get on down." Late in the evening when we would have somebody up here holding the podium he would say, "Ronnie, I'm hungry." I would offer him some crackers and he would generally decline the offer. However, after another hour or so he would look over and say, "You know, those crackers sound pretty good about now." Senator O'DELL, we are going to miss you...we are going to miss you. Godspeed.
Senator VERDIN rose for a reflection on the life of Senator O'Dell.
Thank you, Mr. PRESIDENT. I'm sorry that I missed a few of the first memorials, so I don't know if any of you that spoke earlier referred to the characteristic of humility. I really appreciate and enjoy those anecdotes from those of you that were more intimately acquainted with Billy than I, and I confess, after fifteen years of service with him and twenty years of acquaintance, I still feel that I could have done more on a personal level. My regret is that, whether BILLY O'DELL or any of you, that I have not been more personally invested with you. Somebody was trying to explain Ware Shoals a minute ago. Ware Shoals is over there on the Saluda River and is a unique and blessed part of God's country. Riegel is not there. Not only is Riegel not there, physically, the brick and mortar are gone -- at least the mill is gone. But the people are still there and a lot of the institutions that are so familiar and so integral to the community are still there. The school is still there -- the school that Billy first invested in. Businesses, homes, lives, relations, etc., are where Abbeville, Greenwood, and Laurens come together and touch each other. Billy and I are fortunate enough to represent the same people. Billy's family is still over there in the western part of Laurens County. Most employees over at the mop shop are constituents of mine. So, hence, some of my regret is for not being more invested, but I do want to give praise and testimony to what I've observed externally, more so than intimately.
I'm really thinking about Yancey McGill. Nothing was so precious yesterday than to know the communion they enjoyed, as they served South Carolina, served their people and the way they enriched each other. I think that the Scripture reference, "As iron sharpens iron..." is invoked. I know that Yancey spoke of the sweet communion they had, as they traveled around Columbia, singing hymns together. I would have never dreamed it.
I want to close with a slightly humorous anecdote from Billy's past which I observed that relates back to humility. I don't know who's responsible for that big new bridge they built across the Saluda there at Ware Shoals. I know that Billy is, in large part, responsible for bringing the attention of state agencies to his vineyard, so I will go ahead and say it was Billy, but you wouldn't know it by anything he said. There were about four to five hundred people that showed up when they dedicated that new bridge years ago. There were at least four to five hundred people there that wanted to make sure BILLY O'DELL got credit for that bridge. The whole time he was protesting, "This isn't my bridge, a lot of good people were instrumental in getting this bridge. I don't know why y'all are making a big fuss about me." It wasn't just vain protestation it was genuine.
Yes, he wanted to serve the poor and the needy, the underprivileged and even the folks that are trying to get back and forth to Greenwood, Laurens, and Abbeville Counties -- where Ware Shoals had a nice bridge on which to travel. I know this is five hundred year old Elizabethan, but it's just the Authorized Version that I can see, and it would be more applicable in many more translations, but when I think of BILLY O'DELL I will think of Ephesians 5 where it says, "See then that you walk circumspectly not as fools but as wise, redeeming the time because the days are evil." You can go back and reinterpret some of that, but I think the spirit was there. I heard it from many of you already today. I will long remember, cherish, and even in my own personal life, try to embody what Billy represented to all of us.
Senator RANKIN rose for a reflection on the life of Senator O'Dell.
Thank you, Mr. PRESIDENT. I want to share just a few moments with you about the great man that we all are remembering today and highlighting the impact that he had on our lives and those that he served with a little different vantage point -- that being a young, newly-elected Senator who was extended the great wing of protection of Yancey McGill. When I first joined the Senate, I roomed with Yancey and so it wasn't just one wing of comfort, guidance and protection, but really two that I was extended because as went one, so went the other -- and that was the odd couple of BILLY O'DELL and Yancey McGill. At the service yesterday, it could not help but be noted in the ever indelicate and awfully audible voice of JOEL LOURIE saying behind me, "it sounded like a marriage." Twenty-four years they served and roomed together, I knew it was a long time but I did not how long. But what a great contrast in personalities and effective styles, equally strong in each rank, but again the symbiotic relationship that those two had was on constant display. In my view, not with one suitemate but two, because again, where one went the other followed. Generally, Yancey drove and I thought what a cute way of invoking his valet service that was available, and I thought truly what a unique partnership they had. I was the beneficiary of that both politically and personally. When Yancey was hungry, BILLY was hungry and they wanted to go eat and BILLY said, "let's go." And where did they go? This fine club, the Summit Club. I was the beneficiary of that several times. You could never pay BILLY for the lunch, and for some of you who know my frugal ways, you know that is right up my alley!
But Senator O'DELL was truly a giving fellow who you could not outgive. Yancey gave a beautiful testament yesterday. Many of you have commented on what an emotional and heartfelt relationship they had and the loss that he had. So again, the hope of our legacy that we all are aspiring to and the hope for a better day and that the sermon evoked us to embrace that, to make a difference in your lives, which was on full display yesterday.
So we remember him today again, for the loss in this Senate and the loss of our loved one, and the losses that we have all celebrated together. To me, he was a guy who had the most graceful presence. The invocation of the granddaughter, who I had never known, was powerful. The strength that guy had not to sign his letters "I love you", but to sign off, "stand tall." A guy who in this political world of "look at me, look at me, see what I am doing for you," who stood tall but didn't want anybody to know it except those whose lives he was trying to impact to make them better people. His family, which we are a part of, heard him tell them to stand tall. Folks, we in this Senate and our family, the testament is, let's do the same. Let's have an impact on our lives so that when we meet our maker and when they celebrate the passing of our lives, when they all come together as we did yesterday, that people would be able to say of us, "he made a difference in our lives." That is the legacy of the quiet, standing tall BILLY O'DELL who I celebrate with you all today.
Senator YOUNG rose for a reflection on the life of Senator O'Dell.
Members of the Senate, I rise today to pay tribute to our friend BILLY O'DELL -- A great husband, father, grandfather, businessman, Senator and friend.
I first met Senator O'DELL when I was a freshman student here in Columbia at Carolina. I was a page here in the Senate in the spring of 1990 and had the opportunity to be a page with Senator COURSON. At the time, Senator COURSON and Senator O'DELL were suitemates. Although I did not really know Senator O'DELL, my father was a native of Ware Shoals and my grandparents, who were alive at the time in 1990, still lived in Ware Shoals. In fact, my grandfather worked at Riegel for 48 years in the mill there and my grandmother worked in the mill too before she became the librarian. We had an immediate connection and became good friends. After my first year as a page, Senator COURSON moved when he became Chairman of Invitations, and I went with him. In spite of the move, Senator O'DELL and I maintained our friendship.
Two years later when I was a junior at Carolina, I ran for student body president. On election day, Senator O'DELL, along with Senator Wilson and Senator COURSON, went to the campus and campaigned for me. That was on Election Day for USC student government elections in 1992.
We kept in touch over the years and in 2008, I was fortunate to have been elected to the SC House and started across the hall in 2009. While I served there, Senator O'DELL helped me immensely as a member of the House, like he did starting in 2013 when I was honored to start serving here in the State Senate. While here in the Senate, Senator O'DELL had the confidence to place Senator SHEALY, Senator LOURIE and me on the DSS Oversight Committee. He shared with me several times in private conversations that he was determined for us and this Senate to find the best solutions for the agency and for the children and families served by DSS.
Senator O'DELL never forgot where he came from. Many times when the debate was going on for the last three years in this Chamber, he and I would talk just outside the doors. During those talks, we would talk about Ware Shoals and he would tell me about things happening in Due West, Donalds, Belton, Honea Path and even Starr and Iva in his district. He simply never forgot the people of the district that he represented.
Senator O'DELL's passing is a tremendous loss to the people of his district, to this Senate, and to The Citadel. Everyone in this Chamber knows how much of a strong supporter he was of The Citadel and there is not a stronger supporter of The Citadel under this dome today.
Like all of you, I have been blessed to have known Senator O'DELL and to have served with him. May God bless Senator O'DELL and his family.
Senator MALLOY rose for a reflection on the life of Senator O'Dell.
Thank you, Mr. PRESIDENT, ladies and gentlemen of this Senate. I rise today to speak about Senator O'DELL. Many of you know that I started out practicing law with Senator Saleeby. I was there for about 10 years and he was a good friend of Senator O'DELL. When I finally got to the Senate in 2002, I had Mary Lou in my office working and Senator O'DELL obviously would be a frequent visitor because Mary Lou would help him write articles. She wrote my articles as well. I changed my articles 5 or 6 times before they went out, but Senator O'DELL would always just take what she wrote and send it out. So he and I became good friends by just talking.
I don't know how you describe him. I don't have Bible verses, but I would describe him a little bit as the "referee who was a good one." Sometimes you didn't know he was in the room, but you knew he played a real critical role. He would come in and talk during that time -- you all remember that I would talk more than I do now, coming to the podium, etc. -- some are smiling and thankful that I don't talk as much. When I would try to get votes in our sidebars, he would say, "You know, I'm almost with you..." and that was one of the key things that he would do a lot of times when he really wasn't quite there. He'd say, "I'm almost there..."
From the referee standpoint, I would say you knew he was there when you needed him -- he was here in this Body whenever we needed a good spirit. He was a person who actually was kind to people and was kind to the institution. He was very caring of the people who worked for him. If you go around the room, who would've had an argument with BILLY O'DELL? -- Probably no one because that's who BILLY O'DELL was. I think when there were times of great conflict, he was one of those people, the quiet in the room but was always there.
As we go, I will say that he was very committed to God, committed to his family and that he was committed to the things that he loves, including The Citadel and the Senate. The friends that he had during that time period -- he was very committed to them. As you all know, when changes were going on over here, he would always say, "I love my friends." Sometimes he would rather lose with his friends than to end up going in another direction. I have great respect for the way he conducted himself. What we would always want to do is to -- Billy, we almost want to be with you, we hope to be with you, we will continue to conduct ourselves here in the Senate the way you ended up doing. So I want to say on behalf of Mary Lou who worked with us, and obviously the Saleeby family who was very close to him and me, thank you for your service, thank you for what you meant to all of us and we will always keep you in our memories.
On motion of Senator LOURIE, with unanimous consent, the remarks of Senators LEATHERMAN, PEELER, SETZLER, BRYANT, LARRY MARTIN, NICHOLSON, LOURIE, ALEXANDER, CROMER, VERDIN, RANKIN, YOUNG and MALLOY were ordered printed in the Journal.
On motion of Senator LARRY MARTIN, with unanimous consent, Senator MARGIE BRIGHT MATTHEWS was assigned to the Judiciary Committee.
Senator BRYANT introduced Dr. Marshall L. Meadors III, MD of Anderson, S.C., Doctor of the Day.
On motion of Senators SETZLER, ALEXANDER, ALLEN, BENNETT, BRIGHT, BRYANT, CAMPBELL, CAMPSEN, CLEARY, COLEMAN, CORBIN, COURSON, CROMER, DAVIS, FAIR, GREGORY, GROOMS, HAYES, HEMBREE, HUTTO, JACKSON, JOHNSON, KIMPSON, LEATHERMAN, LOURIE, MALLOY, LARRY MARTIN, SHANE MARTIN, MASSEY, JOHN MATTHEWS, MARGIE BRIGHT MATTHEWS, McELVEEN, NICHOLSON, PEELER, RANKIN, REESE, SABB, SCOTT, SHEALY, SHEHEEN, THURMOND, TURNER, VERDIN, WILLIAMS and YOUNG, with unanimous consent, the Senate stood adjourned out of respect to the memory of Senator William "Billy" O'Dell of Greenwood, S.C. Senator O'Dell began his service in the General Assembly in 1989. He was a Citadel graduate and the CEO of the O'Dell Corporation. Senator O'Dell served Abbeville, Anderson and Greenwood Counties with great love and pride. He was a loving husband, devoted father, doting grandfather and faithful public servant who will be dearly missed.
At 1:12 P.M., on motion of Senator LEATHERMAN, the Senate adjourned to meet tomorrow at 2:00 P.M.
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