| Odilon M. "Odie" Arambula, I|
(Journalist and philanthropist)
|Born|| January 1, 1935 |
|Died|| October 19, 2017 (aged 82) |
|Spouse|| Mavis Arambula (married 1964)
One of eight children of Matias and Feliz Ramos Arambula, he was born in Colombia in the state of Nuevo León in Mexico but reared in Laredo, at which he graduated from Martin High School. He attended the former Laredo Junior College (renamed Laredo Community College in 1993) and was the editor of the former college newspaper, The Roundup. He also worked part-time at the Laredo Publishing Company owned by the late William N. Hall, Sr., which published several regional weeklies, including The South Texas Citizen, later The Laredo Citizen.
He graduated from LJC in 1956 and transferred to the University of Texas at Austin, at which he completed his bachelor's degree in journalism in 1958. He was then offered employment by newspapers in Austin, Beaumont, and Dallas but instead became sports editor of The Laredo Citizen. From 1961 to 1963, he worked at the sports desk at The Express-News in San Antonio and The Caller-Times in Corpus Christi. In 1963, The Caller-Times opened a bureau in Laredo and named Arambula to head it. After eight years in that arrangement, he joined The Laredo Times in 1971.
Arambula covered the assassination of John F. Kennedy, a recurring matter of interest which arose on the news agenda again the same week that Arambula died. U.S. President Donald Trump opened many previously classified documents about the tragic shooting in Dallas on November 22, 1963. He also reported on the building of Interstate 35 and the Juarez-Lincoln International Bridge through downtown Laredo. He reported on the rise and fall of The Independent Club, which dominated Laredo politics prior to 1978 and was dominated in its last days by Laredo Mayor J. C. Martin, Jr.
Over the years Arambula was influential in the Kiwanis Club, Border Olympics, San Agustin Historical Preservation Society, the Laredo Boys and Girls Club, Jaycees, the interest group the League of United Latin American Citizens, the Republic of the Rio Grande, the Laredo Development Foundation, the Laredo Chamber of Commerce, the Texas Daily Newspaper Association, and the Laredo Historic and Conservation Society. He helped in the creation of the South Texas Food Bank and was on the ground floor in the establishment of Laredo Literacy Volunteers of America. He was a president of the George Washington Birthday Celebration Association, the LULAC "Man of the Year," and the recipient of "Hispanic Journalist of the Year" by the Associated Press. He also won the Hearst Newspapers National Humanitarian Award and was named "Laredoan of the Year" by the city. He served on the board for more than forty-five years of the Ruthe B. Cowl Rehabilitation Center in Laredo, named for founder Ruthe B. Cowl.
Though he officially retired in 2004, Arambula still maintained his Monday column, stories, and special features on historical events in The Laredo Morning Times. He also maintained public speaking appearances. He and his wife, Mavis, married in 1964. There are three surviving children, Mavis Medellin (husband David John), Gerardo Odilon Arambula (with Judith), Odilon Arambula, II (wife Gala). Another daughter, Estela Salvador, predeceased her father. Arambula died of pancreatic cancer. Services were held on October 23, 2017, at Holy Redeemer Catholic Church in Laredo. He is interred at Laredo Catholic Cemetery. A memorial service celebrating the life of Arambula was hled on October 27 at St. Patrick's Catholic Church at 555 E. Del Mar Blvd. in Laredo.
Alexandria banker Gary Jacobs called his friend Arambula "one of the most modest, unsung heroes of Laredo's history. He was unassuming and kept a low profile.” Physician Joaquin Cigarroa referred tp Arambula as "a very sincere, humane person who [was] extremely sensitive to the needs of the community in education, health care and civic improvements. He [always saw] the big picture, always featuring the issues and the critical needs that we have. In so doing, he contributed much in bringing important changes to the attention of state leaders."
- Odilon Arambula. Mylife.com. Retrieved on April 26, 2018.
- Odie Arambula, newspaper and humanitarian legend, dies at age 82. The Laredo Morning Times (October 19, 2017). Retrieved on October 27, 2017.
- Jeremy Diamond (October 25, 2017). Trump to release JFK files Thursday. CNN.com. Retrieved on October 27, 2017.
- Andrea Castenada (October 24, 2017). Laredo pays tribute to local newspaper, humanitarian legend Odie Arambula. The Laredo Morning Times. Retrieved on October 27, 2017.