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.
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