Feb. 6 was a very special day to mark the birth of Odessa Harrison Dunn. Several of her family members assembled in her home to celebrate the joyous occasion.
One celebration is not enough for so many years of service to the community, so the members of the Mt. Olive Baptist Church of Grambling continued in a second celebration to honor Dunn’s birthday and her serving as the mother of the Mt. Olive Baptist Church of Grambling where she has been a faithful member since 1941. She has been an active member of the Sunday School as a teacher for the intermediate class, mission and deaconess ministries.
In recognition of Dunn’s birthday, Reverend Ronnie D. Washington, Pastor of the Mt. Olive Baptist Church of Grambling presented her with a plaque for her love, dedication, and service to the church and the first lady, Morolene Washington read a card and presented her with a dozen red roses. The entire church was involved and they all gave her cards, gifts, hugs, kisses, candy and a lot of appreciation for being an example for others to follow.
Dunn stood during the entire special part of the service while waiting patiently to speak to the congregation. “You all are about to make me cry,” she said.
She witnessed to the church about accepting Christ at 12-years-old and not turning back.
“Mother Dunn is always doing something to help others in our community. We are so blessed to have her at Mt. Olive,” said Chasity Gant.
The wife of the late John Elton Dunn has a wealth of experience to offer young couples. All of her children are married and have been for years. She reflects on a time when they could not have children. They prayed for seven years and later the Lord blessed them with eight children.
The late John Elton Dunn and Odessa have eight children who all graduated from Grambling State University: Lou Smith Henry), John Arthur Dunn (Wilma), Caldwell Dunn (Elaine), Carolyn Bowman (Elme), Della Powell (Will), Keith Dunn (Sharon), Benjamin Dunn (Debra), and Agnes Sudds (Willie).
She attributes her long life to joining up with the Lord while in her youth, loving people, trying to live right and following his commandments. Her hobbies have included quilting, fishing, gardening and cooking.
Her advice to young people is to be willing to work and make an earnest living. Don’t be afraid to learn. Ask the Lord to help you and have faith in your abilities. ”I have always encouraged young people to go to school and learn all they can, ”Dunn said. She was the valedictorian of her class at Lincoln High School.
Immediately following service, members were given cake and ice cream. Dunn tries to encourage the youth and can be seen passing out candy to children and adults.