Odessa E. Thrower, a U.S. Army and Air Force veteran, died on Tuesday, May 28, 2019. She was 95.
She was born on Feb. 13, 1924 in Philadelphia to the late William and Anna Thrower. She was baptized at the First African Baptist Church of Philadelphia.
She attended West Philadelphia High School. After graduation, she served honorably in both the Army and Air Force. After her military career, she attended Temple University, where she earned a bachelor’s degree in social welfare.
Thrower worked as a clerk and medical assistant in the Philadelphia Navy Shipyard. She was also an ambulance driver.
She served in World War II, the Korean War and the Vietnam Conflicts. Among her many tours of duty, while in the military, she enjoyed Japan, Germany, Hawaii, Washington state and Philadelphia. Her military interment at Tahoma National Cemetery reflects her return to Washington, where she previously served at Joint Base Lewis McChord.
Thrower contributed financially to the Diabetes Foundation, Philadelphia School for the Blind, American Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals, American Heart Association, the Bushfire Theater of Performing Arts, many child relief organizations in deprived countries and various churches throughout Philadelphia.
She served a volunteer library assistant at Bluford Charter School, sharing her vast knowledge and military experiences. She also volunteered for various daycare facilities.
Thrower was very active throughout the years, traveling, via day trips promoting veterans activities of all kinds and representing African American women veterans. Her fondest trip was for the Philadelphia Honor Flight, to see the WWII Memorial in Washington D.C.
Thrower also volunteered at The Simpson House, where she lived for several years. She delivered mail and library books to the residents.
She was preceded in death by her brothers, William, Charles Sr., James and Emmett; niece, Mamie Royal and nephew, Charles Jr.
She is survived by: her nieces and nephews, Cheryl Thrower-Carrington, Jan Thrower and James C. Thrower all of Philadelphia, Pamela Thrower-LeSesne of Everett, Washington, Odessa Thrower-Johnson of Jacksonville, Florida and Teresa Thrower-Keenhold of Everett, Washington and other relatives and friends.
A memorial service was held July 31 at 7 p.m. at New Hope Baptist Church, 5950 Irving St.
Miller-Woodlawn Funeral Home handled the arrangements.