Some say dynamite comes in small packages but it still has a tremendous impact on others. That is how you could describe Odette Jacobsen Zwetzig, (“OZ”), our mother, grandmother, sister, aunt, cousin and friend. Standing at 4’7” with a smile just about as wide, she had a way of instantly making everyone she met feel like they had been friends forever.
Jan.1, 2021, this little dynamo took her last breath. Just as she did with everything else, she went with a bang. She was happy and relatively well until her last 24 hours, and then, in a flash, her light was extinguished.
“OZ” was born in Vernal, Utah on January 16, 1944, the fifth of eight siblings. She worked as a ranch hand in her early years but found her passion when she began working for the National Park Service, advancing quickly through the ranks to become an Administrative Officer. She worked in numerous National Parks, including Dinosaur, Grand Teton, St. John, Fire Island and Death Valley, but the one that captured her heart was Mount Rushmore. Highlights of her life include joining the 1988 U.S. Taekwondo Olympic team held in Seoul, Korea; riding elephants in Thailand; photographing alligators and lion cubs in Africa; and obtaining her Associate Degree in her late sixties. She loved to paint, watercolor and weave on her loom.
Upon retirement from the NPS, she returned to Rapid City, SD, making this her longtime home of nearly 20 years. Most recently, she moved to be closer to her family in Salt Lake City, UT, residing at The Ridge Foothill Retirement Community, a “5 star” hotel, as she put it.
She loved her family and is survived by her children, Dina Hannah (Stacey), John Hannah (Kim) and Dennis Layton (Vanessa); her four beloved grandchildren, Jake, Shelby, Teagan and Eli; her sister, Delores “Chic” Fread and numerous nieces, nephews and cousins.
A celebration of her life will be held later this year, giving family and friends an opportunity to gather and tell stories (her favorite past time). Her ashes will be interred in her childhood stomping ground of Jensen, UT. Until then, we know that she will be joyously surrounded by those loved ones who have preceded her in death.
Until we meet again, we love you OZ.