No more Oddee jobs – Family business to close after 77 years

Published 8:00 am Friday, April 29, 2022

In 1945, brothers Oddee and Oscar Smith started Smith Gravel Service with one truck and a lot of hard work. Now more than 77 years later, his children have decided to retire and close the business.

Oddee Smith Construction Inc., as it came to be known, has provided work for oilfields, roads and bridges, as well as a gravel plant in the Macedonia community of Lincoln County. In 1982, a wash pit was added to the original gravel operation. In 2006, the operation was moved from the family homestead to the Hilltop community. The first delivery of wash rock rolled out on May 9 that year.

Along the way, hundreds of people have worked for the company, most in the hard, manual labor jobs involved with such an enterprise.

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“We want to thank everybody for the privilege of serving them these many years,” said Glenda Hart, Oddee’s daughter.

The reason behind closing the business after more than three-quarters of a century is simple, Glenda and her brothers Joel and Paul said. Along with sister-in-law Carolyn Smith, widow of the third brother J. Ronny Smith, they are “more wore out than air traffic controllers,” Joel said, laughing.

It was always a 24-7 job, Carolyn said. Even when the workers were off for the weekend, the brothers and their father never were. Rain, sleet or dark of night, you worked when the work needed to be done.

“And during the oil field days, it was seven days a week,” added Paul.

There are so many good things to say about what God has done for them that Paul didn’t know where to start.

“God has been very good to us,” Carolyn said.

“That sums it up. God has been very good to us and we’ve tried to appreciate it,” Joel said.

They took turns telling stories of how their father Oddee would help people, donating gravel, labor and even land to their church or to people who were in need, and of their mother who always had food ready to serve anyone their dad might bring home with him on any given day.

“She was such a force, a godly woman. She was strong, strong,” Glenda said. “It was always God first.”

“We still hear stories of how Daddy helped people,” said Joel. “We’ve tried to give back to the community and the churches.”

There has been a lot of joy in the business for the family.

“The good it did for us, discipline and structure, and being able to use it to help people,” Joel said. “We had the joy of doing it. It was hard work but it was worth it.”

“And there’s been some real good, fine men and women come through here who went on to better themselves and their families, who got their start here in this office,” Paul said.

The business has paid its debts, closed its books and – after helping their remaining employees find new, good jobs – is operating with a skeleton crew. The final job has been completed. In a period where lots of infrastructure money is coming into the state, some would think it’s a terrible time to shut down a business like Oddee Smith, especially one that’s been so good to them.

“But we’ve decided to shut it down,” Joel said. “We’re Christians, and we’ve prayed a lot about this.”

“It’s been our lives, and it’s been a blessing from God,” Carolyn said, and all the siblings agreed.

An auction of the company’s assets will be May 5 beginning at 9 a.m. at 1037 Macedonia Road NW. Preview will be May 4, from 9 a.m. until 4 p.m. The more than 300 auction lots can also be viewed online at