July 1, 1940 - September 18, 2020
On Friday, September 18, 2020 the Lord called for his angel “T.C.”, father, brother, grandfather, uncle, cousin, coach, mentor, and friend to heaven, and Tony answered the call. Tony Charles Odneal was born July 1, 1940 to the proud parents of Edison James Odneal and Sallie Mae Petty in Columbus, Mississippi. Our beloved father was a faithful member of Bethel A.M.E. Church and dedicated member of the male choir until his health began to decline. Tony received his early education in Columbus, Mississippi. He attended Mitchell Memorial Elementary and R.E. Hunt High School. Upon entering high school, one could see from an early age that he was destined to be a force on the football field. He had a love for the game like no other. When the ball hit his hand’s, you knew something extraordinary was about to happen. He played football, baseball and ran track during his three years at R.E. Hunt. He displayed his versatility by playing three positions: quarterback, full back and split end at various times. Tony was selected all-conference choice for three years in a row. When he graduated from R.E. Hunt High School, he received multiple scholarship offers, notably Minnesota University and Southern Illinois University, but he elected to go to Mississippi Industrial, an HBCU located in Holly Springs, Mississippi. Tony gave up his opportunity to play with a big ten conference school so that one of his fellow schoolmates could attend the same college. That just shows the type of character TC was made of. The only way they would accept Tony’s high school friend on a full ride scholarship is by Tony attending the same college in Holly Springs. When he made it to Mississippi Industrial College everyone all over Columbus, Mississippi knew and loved Tony “TC” Odneal. During his college football days, Tony had significant highs and lows. Tony incurred quite a few injuries and fractures, but Tony still managed to run the 100 yard dash in 9.5 seconds the following spring during his 3rd year track season. He received his Bachelor’s of Science degree from Mississippi Industrial College and later attended Central Michigan University and obtained his Master’s degree in Industrial Administration. After graduating Tony had the opportunity of playing with several professional teams in his young career. His first experience in professional football came with the Oakland Raiders of the AFL in 1965. He was a massive 6’ 3, 220 pound premier running back. He also was the leading scorer in ground gainer for the Pontiac Arrows, Michigan Arrows, Flint Sabers, and the Midland’s Tri City Apollo’s. Tony was known to run with a lot of strength and power. He was so tough that he would hurt people when he would get tackled, or when he would tackle them. He was affectionately known by the nickname of “Mule”. While playing professional football Tony met and married Joyce B. Wilcox in Mt. Clemens, Michigan. Their union was blessed with three children, Tony Charles, Sherrie Lynn, and Karen Marie. The Apollo’s disbanded because of financial problems, that’s when Tony decided to settle down and make a career. He came to Saginaw, Michigan in 1970 and gained employment teaching and coaching at Buena Vista High School where Tony was an assistant football coach under Jim Hasse. Not only did he coach football but also wrestling. He had the opportunity of taking one of his students all the way to state finals in wrestling, where the student won in the heavy weight division. With his hard work and dedication Tony eventually became the head coach of Buena Vista High School. His passion for his students and the love of the game earned him many accolades across the board and the name CHIEF by the players. Tony was a mentor to many and encouraged his students to further their education. He believed by earning a college degree enabled people to make better choices the rest of their lives. Not only does a college education provide an individual with new knowledge and information, it teaches them how to think critically, how to break apart and reconstruct complex issues, and how to solve problems. Playing football gave Tony a college education, and a college education gave him an idea of what life is like. He learned to stand on his own two feet. Tony held several positions in the Buena School District including Attendance Director, and Part-time teacher for OIC. Tony is survived in legacy and leaves to cherish in loving memory, devoted wife, Joyce Beverly Odneal, of Saginaw, Michigan; three children, Tony Charles (Anquenetta) Odneal, Jr. of Slidell, LA, Sherrie Lynn (Alvin) Muse of McKinney, TX and Karen Marie (Kevin) Primus of Waldwick, NJ; six grandchildren, Chakira Odneal of Bessemer, AL, Jarvis Frederick of Slidell, LA, Tristan Odneal of Slidell, LA, Lola Odneal of Slidell, LA, Alvin Muse III of McKinney, TX and Kevin Primus of Waldwick, NJ; godchildren, Dirara Bancroft and Tanielle Cummings, both of Saginaw, MI; one sister, Ester Mae Petty of Chicago, IL; one brother, Elemuel Petty of West Point, MS; nieces, Prentice Petty of Columbus, MS and Casey Petty, both of Columbus, MS; sisters-in-law, Wyanna Harry Davis of Detroit, MI, and Laura Curtis Wilcox-Snow of Mt Clemens, MI; a host of other relatives and friends including special friends, Sylvester Ellis of Columbus, MS, William Davis of Charlotte, NC, Jerry Bluitt and special families that he loved; the Jacksons, Walkers, Gibbs, Marshalls, Thomas, Crosby and Michell. Tony was preceded in death by brothers, Willie B. Odneal of Chicago, IL; and Albert Petty of Bayshore, NY; sister, Mattie Pearl Odneal of Patchogue, NY; aunts, Fannie Mae (Gent) Bluitt of Columbus, MS and Bertha Ann Odneal of Columbus, MS, Mattie Hutchinson of Columbus, MS and Ernestine Petty of Columbus, MS. The family would like to express special thanks to all the care givers at Covenant Hospital, Dr Jaffari , Dr. Malik and the staff at Evans and Browne’s Funeral Home. Funeral service will take place at 11:00 a.m. on Saturday, September 26, 2020 at Bethel A.M.E. Church, 535 Cathay Street, Saginaw, MI 48601. Pastor Dennis Laffoon will officiate with interment in Forest Lawn Cemetery, 3210 S. Washington Avenue, Saginaw, MI 48601. Friends may call at Bethel A.M.E. Church on Friday from 2:00 until 6:00 p.m.
On Friday, September 18, 2020 the Lord called for his angel “T.C.”, father, brother, grandfather, uncle, cousin, coach, mentor, and friend to heaven, and Tony answered the call. Tony Charles Odneal was born July 1, 1940... View Obituary & Service Information
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