Georges Pierre Odier, 1931 ~ 2009

Georges Pierre Odier, age 77 years, passed away early on August 31, 2009 at University Hospital in Salt Lake City. Georges is survived by his sister, Michele Odier and brother, Jean Pierre Odier. He is preceded in death by his sister, Anne Marie. He leaves nieces and nephews Emmanuelle, Laurent, Nicolas, Jimmy, Alexandre, Stephan, and Walter. Georges made many friends in his travels through life. He will be sadly missed.

Born Oct. 18, 1931, Georges spent his childhood and youth in Marseille, France. He emigrated from France in 1951 with his longtime friend Jean Jacques André. Landing in New York they passed through the U.S. to settle in Canada, where they worked on farms in Saskatchewan for a year. The following year they moved on to British Columbia and worked in the lumber mill at Penny, B.C. while learning the English language better. Georges moved to Victoria B.C. and worked in the Water Rights Branch of the Provincial Government of B.C.

Georges was always an active outdoorsman. He learned to ski with style at the old ski cabin on Mt. Brenton on Vancouver Island. He was very musical and could play the piano and mouth organ by ear, never having had a lesson. He was in Montreal for a short time, and then went to Bloomfield Hills, Mich. to teach skiing for the Stein Erickson ski school, subsequently teaching in Aspen, Colo., where he taught many famous names including some of the Kennedy family. While in Aspen. Georges served a term as head of the Chamber of Commerce, and was always involved with the community. His years in Aspen were some of the happiest and most fruitful of his life.

As the younger generation took to the ski slopes Georges renewed his passion for fly-fishing. He worked at Chuck Fothergill’s Outdoor Sportsman and Guiding, and was active in organizations such as Trouts Unlimited and Ducks Unlimited. Georges had taken up fly-fishing with great enthusiasm and, as with all the activities he did, became a true expert. He practiced the catch-and-release advocated by his mentor, Chuck Fothergill. Georges served as guide to many including former-President Jimmy Carter, who sent to him, with the seal of the White House on it, a letter of thanks and appreciation for the time they spent together.

After Chuck Fothergill retired and the shop was sold, the following year, Georges’ brother signed the lease for the new store under the name Odier Ltd. Georges and his associate Jeannie Donofrio designed the new shop and put their hearts into that store. It was an elegant fly-fishing and gentlemen’s store, with a French flair, with clothing, etched stemware, wood carvings, and luggage all imported from France; they were very proud of it. The store was successful partly because Georges was so well known in the community. Some of their clients were Hollywood celebrities such as Robert Wagner, Jill St. John, George Hamilton, and Vanna White, who became regular customers and were good friends. Georges and Jeannie enjoyed the store for several years until Georges’ life changed. He moved on, and did guiding in Alaska, traveled through much of the North American wilderness, and enjoyed many fishing trips with friends. He returned to Aspen to work for the Aspen Historical Society. In his free time he took great pleasure in making trips to explore the Canyonlands of Utah.

Georges was a prolific writer. He wrote for his own and his friends’ amusement, funny stories of history and wars. He sometimes had a sharp critical voice in expressing his views on a wide variety of subjects. He was also a researcher and knowledgeable particularly in French history. During his years in Aspen Georges wrote “Swimming Flies, A Revolutionary Approach to Fly fishing” published in 1984. In 1998 and 1999 he also wrote outdoor articles for the Glenwood Post newspaper.

Georges took some time out to travel and visit his family in France before returning to the US to settle in his beloved Canyonlands. He has lived in Moab, Utah for the last ten years. Here he pursued one of his major interests – ichnology (studies based on the discovery and analysis of burrows, trackways, trails etc. of early mammals), and made his hobby of exploring the Canyonlands into a full-time and passionate occupation. He worked with Fran Barnes and was determined that there should be recognition from the scientific community for the importance of tracks in the Jurassic Period. After Fran passed away, Georges continued his own research. He wrote and published: “The Jurassic, A New Beginning,” August 2003, “The Jurassic, The Rise of the Mammals,” March 2004, “The Jurassic, The Mammal Explosion,” August 2006. These books documented Georges’ findings in and around Moab. Recently he collaborated with Steve Hasiotis of the University of Kansas, and led studies in the field around Moab. As a field researcher, Georges’ goal was to have recognition for his theory that small mammals were prolific in the Jurassic period.

At the onset of his illness he had just met with a freelance reporter from Grand Junction who was to write an article on the subject of Georges’ discoveries. An article Georges had been waiting five years to be written and published.