O’dell Owens Obituary, Dr. O’dell Owens, longtime Cincinnati health leader, dies at 74
- by Alex Danvers
O’dell Owens Obituary, Death – Many people consider Owens to be a pioneer and a pillar of the community. He turned public service into a career. He served as Hamilton County coroner, president of Cincinnati State, and medical director of the Cincinnati Health Department, among other significant posts, over the years. Owens was a medical innovator. He founded the in vitro fertilization program at the University of Cincinnati and produced Cincinnati’s first successful conception, birth, and pregnancy from a frozen embryo. Owens earned his high school diploma from Woodward. He went on to graduate from college, earn a master’s degree from Yale University, and finish a reproductive endocrinology fellowship at Harvard Medical School, disproving some of his professors.
After failing out of Walnut Hills in the ninth grade, a college counselor informed Owens that she was “too poor and too stupid to go to college,” as she later recalled to WLWT in 2021. “Nobody ought to confine you. Nobody should dismiss you.” Prior to his retirement, Owens spent more than four years as president and CEO of Interact for Health. On Wednesday afternoon, the group issued a statement regarding Owens’ passing. “The passing of Dr. O’dell Owens, our former president and CEO, leaves the Interact for Health team and board in great sorrow. Our thoughts go out to Marchelle, his wife, and their three children, Christopher, Justin, and Morgan.
From birth to death, Dr. Owens provided for everyone in our community. He was a pioneer, an inspirational figure, a friend, and a mentor to many. Dr. Owens spent four and a half years at Interact for Health where he worked to reduce tobacco use, combat the opioid crisis, increase health equity in the area, and enhance access to healthcare through school-based health clinics. He spent a lifetime working to promote health in Greater Cincinnati, and his donations to the foundation were just one element of that. His absence will be greatly felt, and his legacy will serve as an inspiration for work for many years to come.”
At the CET building in the West End, a mural of Dr. Owens was dedicated in August of last year. In March, WLWT sat down with Owens for an episode of Let’s Talk Cincy to talk about Owens’ ambition to use health and education to affect social change. During that chat, Owens said to Courtis Fuller, “I’ve worked in the community, but I’ve never felt like I’ve accomplished enough. Am I finished yet? As a result, I just answered, “Yes, you have.” It’s now time to look after O’dell.” He left the job in 2021. Dr. Owen passed away, and the Hamilton County Coroner’s Office issued the following statement: “The tragic departure of Dr. Odell Owens has deeply grieved us. His life’s work of making a beneficial impact on young people’s lives by encouragng them to stay in school, pursue higher education, and make moral decisions in society was continued during his more than 5 years as coroner.
There is no doubt about his legacy in the Cincinnati community, and his influence will endure.” Morgan, Owens’ daughter, gave Courtis Fuller of WLWT the following statement: “Dad was everything to me. I’m lost, and so is my family. My father dedicated his entire life to making a difference in the world. He undoubtedly did. Dad, your legacy will endure because he affected so many lives. Please remember to pray for and think of our family.” Democrat Rob Portman posted on Twitter: “The demise of Dr. O’dell Owens, a dear friend of Jane and mine, has devastated us. O’dell was a huge figure in the Cincinnati medical community, and he will be sorely missed.”
O’dell Owens Obituary, Death – Many people consider Owens to be a pioneer and a pillar of the community. He turned public service into a career. He served as Hamilton County coroner, president of Cincinnati State, and medical director of the Cincinnati Health Department, among other significant posts, over the years. Owens was a medical…