Neil Graham Odenwald
1935 - 2021
BORN
1935
DIED
2021
FUNERAL HOME
Resthaven Gardens of Memory & Funeral Home
11817 Jefferson Highway
Baton Rouge, LA
Neil Graham Odenwald, 85, of Baton Rouge passed away at his home on April 26, 2021. Neil was born on May 3, 1935, in Ruleville, Mississippi. He earned his undergraduate degree and Ph.D. in horticulture from Mississippi State University and his master's degree in landscape architecture from LSU. Neil's career began in the Louisiana Cooperative Extension Service. Neil was Professor Emeritus of landscape architecture at LSU and served as Director of the LSU Robert Reich School of Landscape Architecture. He served as Chairman of Landscape Design Schools for the National Council of State Garden Clubs, as a consultant on the Time-Life plant materials publications, and was awarded the Medal of Honor from the Garden Clubs of America. His publications include Southern Plants, Plants for Designers, Live Oak Splendor, Attracting Birds to Southern Gardens, Plants for American Landscapes, and The Bountiful Flower Garden. He was a Fellow of the American Society of Landscape Architects. He was instrumental in founding the Southern Garden Symposium, served as President of the John James Audubon Foundation, and was recently honored with the establishment of the Neil G. Odenwald Distinguished Professorship at LSU. Neil's restoration and preservation efforts can be seen in numerous historical gardens throughout the South including New Orleans Botanical Gardens, Afton Villa, Rosedown, LongVue, Bocage Plantation, and Biedenharn. Neil is survived by his wife, Rebekah Lemoine Odenwald, his sons Von (Jo-Lynn) and Jon (Sharon), his daughter Elisa (Kevin) Osborn, his grandchildren Emily (Kerry) Klein, Lauren, Grant, Anna, and Grace Odenwald, and Jason Osborn, his great-grandchild James Klein, his sister Ruth Claire Adair, his former wife Virginia Patsy Odenwald, and numerous nieces, nephews, and cousins. He was preceded in death by his parents, Joseph and Mable Odenwald, and his brothers Joseph (Jean) and Robert (Sylvia) Odenwald. Visitation will be held at University Baptist Church, 5775 Highland Road, on Thursday, April 29, 2021, from 6 until 8 p.m. and on Friday, April 30, 2021, from 10 until services at 11 a.m. Resthaven Funeral Home is in charge of arrangements. In lieu of flowers, the family requests that donations be made to the Dr. Odenwald Professorship, LSU Foundation 3796 Nicholson Drive, Baton Rouge, LA 70802.
Published by The Advocate from Apr. 27 to Apr. 30, 2021.
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MEMORIAL EVENTS
Apr
29
Visitation
6:00p.m. - 8:00p.m.
University Baptist Church
5775 Highland Road, LA
Apr
30
Visitation
10:00a.m. - 11:00a.m.
University Baptist Church
5775 Highland Road, LA
Apr
30
Service
11:00a.m.
University Baptist Church
5775 Highland Roa, LA
Funeral services provided by:
Resthaven Gardens of Memory & Funeral Home
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15 Entries
May 8, 2021
Dr. Odenwald was my plant materials professor at LSU, as well as a classmate of my father, Thomas (Bert) Schnadelbach, at LSU. I am sorry to hear that he has passed away. He was an excellent professor, leader in the profession, and equally exemplary man, who loved his work and was liked by all. We send our sincere sympathy to friends and family.
Keith Schnadelbach (BLA 80)
Friend
May 8, 2021
To Rebecca & Odenwald family, my sincere condolences on the loss of your husband and dad. He truly left this world a more beautiful place.
Pam Bordelon
Acquaintance
May 1, 2021
If it wasn't for Neil's patience and guidance Linden Plantation in Vicksburg, MS would still be a jungle, instead of ten acres of gardens. He was born in Ruleville and my grandparents lived there. We laughed at the odds of two people with same connection even knew each other, much less ride in the same car together on his trips with me up here from Baton Rouge. Nothing but respect and love to my dear Neil. I know he's still supervising from above.
Joy Brabston
Friend
April 30, 2021
Jon,
I’m so sorry to hear of your dad’s passing. You and your family are in my prayers.
Tara Hebert
April 30, 2021
Von, your dad was a great man. Everyone in Landscape Architecture at LSU thought the world of him. So did so, so many people in Baton Rouge.
A classmate from long, long ago
April 30, 2021
Fond memories of a kind and generous friend.
William Griffin
Friend
April 29, 2021
I was blessed by the moments of counsel Neil and I shared. I am grateful for the enduring memories.
Dudley Fricke
Friend
April 29, 2021
Dr. O was one of my favorite professors while attending LSU.
I can still clearly hear his voice - the accent, the passion he had for teaching us plant materials. Even the weeds were “gorgeous”.
He was kind, gentle, and personal with us as students.
Prayers for his family during their time of grief. He will be greatly missed!

Lance Hendrix, BLA ‘94
Lance Hendrix
Friend
April 29, 2021
Dr. Odenwald's passion for plants was legendary. A shining example of loving what you do and sharing that contagious enthusiasm with others. We were so lucky to have him help us understand nature's beauty on a whole other level.

Max Brown
BLA 1990
Max Brown
Student
April 29, 2021
My mother, who returned to college for her master's in landscape architecture at the age of 60, took classes with Neil and over time they became friends and colleagues. She had so many lovely things to say about him -- and the many times I interacted with him he was beyond gracious as well as hilarious, including at my mother's memorial service. His entire family is in my thoughts -- the world is a little more dull without Neil in it.
Laurie Lynn Drummond
Friend
April 28, 2021
Such a generous loving soul, I will forever be his student. My heart is low, my mind is full of Dr O’s lessons and my hands execute his practice. I cherish and miss him dearly.
August G Schwartz
Student
April 28, 2021
I studied landscape planting under Dr. Odenwald's tutelage, 1991-93, and believe sincerely that everyone who knew Neil loved him. He was a great educator and a friend both to people AND to flora and fauna. Neil taught us to develop personal relationships with each plant species, and to make our environment welcoming for birds. I still smile every time I recall the first week of Plant Materials class, hearing his Mississippian pronunciation of Liriope!
Steve McLaughlin
Student
April 28, 2021
Neil meant so much to so many. His love of horticulture / landscape was an inspiration to all. I valued his friendship over many years. My thoughts and prayers are with the Odenwald family.
Allen Owings
Friend
April 28, 2021
This will be one of so many messages about how wonderful Dr. Odenwald was and how much he was loved. What he taught me and what I still know today was a true gift. He showed his love for God's creation and shared his knowledge in such wonderful ways. Dr. O will always hold a very special place in my heart and I know of so many others.
Beth Brignac Rolinski
Student
April 28, 2021
No kinder, gracious, talented, motivated teacher, artist, and mentor ever lived. The world is a far more beautiful place because Dr. Neil Odenwald lived in it.
Greg Grant
Student
April 27, 2021
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