Mrs. Lalla M. Odom
Born April 8, 1874 Deceased April 14, 1964
"The second oldest in a family of seven children, Lalla learned to share pleasures and responsibilities. Growing up in Fayette County, Texas, she knew Annie Webb Blanton as a school mate in La Grange. Ambitious and quick of mind, Lalla obtained a B.A. degree by the age of seventeen. Not content with her training at Waco Female College and Baylor University, she enrolled in the Conservatory of Music in Cincinnati."
Her diploma from the Conservatory led her to a position as a teacher of music and mathematics at Willie Halsell College in Vineta, Oklahoma. After she and William Edgar Odom married, they lived in several towns in Texas and Oklahoma before settling in Austin in 1917. There was a population boom in Austin at that time and Mrs. Odom was immediately hired to teach at Metz Elementary School. At the close of the school she was notified that it was contrary to the policies of the Board of Education to issue contracts to married teachers. The superintendent supported her position because of the discriminatory regulation. Weeks later the Board reversed its ruling. Mrs. Odom helped break down this barrier and became one of the first married woman teachers in Austin to receive a regular contract.
"This was the period when the junior high school, as a separate division of the public school, was being tried as an experiment. The Allen Junior High was the first of its type in Texas. And Mrs. Odom was named to head the department of mathematics there. To equip herself for the professional responsibilities, she continued her study, earning A.B. and A.M. degrees at the University of Texas. From time to time, she added graduate courses in education, government and English."
Mrs. Odom took an active part in city, state and national political affairs. She also was active in professional organizations such as the Classroom Teachers Association, Texas State Teachers Association and the National Education Association. "This was the type of personality Dr. Blanton believed could assist with the new Delta Kappa Gamma Society. To the group, Lalla brought the point of view of a junior high school teacher of mathematics and the desire to banish discrimination against women in the profession.
"The two longtime friends, Dr. Blanton and Mrs. Odom, installed Alpha Chapter (June 3, 1929) within a month of the founding of the national Society. With Ruby Cole, they obtained the national charter. They made frequent weekend trips to surrounding counties to enlist prospective members. Several chapters claim Lalla as their organizer."
"Mrs. Odom was Alpha's first president. During the years 1929-1933, she was corresponding secretary for the state-national organization and chairman of the Committee on Constitution (1931-1932). Other national committees on which she worked included: Legislation (1942-1948 and 1952-1956), Editing the Constitution (1956-1958)." She represented the Founders on the National Planning Committee (1948-1952) and the Administrative Board (1958-1960).
"As the years passed, her eyesight gradually dimmed and her frail body weakened. She died on Monday, April 14, 1964, in her home. Burial was in Oakwood Cemetery in Austin.