Olen Dean Gaither, 93, entered the heavenly realm on August 3, 2018, after a brief illness. He was born on March 29, 1925, in Midlothian, Texas, to the late Carl B. Gaither and Mollie Dean Curtis Gaither. Olen was the grandson of Robert W. Bumpus Gaither in the Gaither line of John Simonton, Martin, Burgess, Edward, Benjamin, John II, and John Gater.
From 1944-1946, O.D. proudly served in the U. S. Navy on the U.S.S. Wesson in the pacific during World War II. In 1946 he met and married Frances LaTreece Taylor of Waxahachie. Many friends and family attended the celebration honoring the 70th Anniversary of their marriage on December 21, 2016. The Gaithers are members of Eastridge Baptist Church of Red Oak. O.D. worked for the Coca-Cola Company in Waxahachie for five years and retired from Federal Mogul after 35 years. He worked part time for Red Oak Valley Golf Course for many years and continued to play golf weekly with friends until suffering a broken leg on April 30, 2018. O.D. served the Red Oak community in many capacities over the years. He was the town's first police officer/city marshall from 1956 to 1968. He worked as a constable and city judge as well as serving on the Red Oak ISD school board and Red Oak city council for several terms. In the town's early days, O.D. served as a volunteer firefighter. In those days, his son Steve, recalls his father putting 100 gallons of water into the fire truck for $0.25. O.D. was also a scout leader for local Boy Scout Troops. O.D. served until his death in the Red Oak Lions Club. During his 68 years of service, he was President in 1961-1962 and again in 1984. He served as Zone Chairman from 1965-1966 and Deputy District Governor 1969-1970. He was a Guiding Lion for Ovilla and Ferris Lions Clubs, guiding these new clubs and officers through their first two years of operation by helping motivate and support new club growth. In addition, he received the Lions Club Life Membership and Melvin Jones Awards.
O.D. was preceded in death by his father, mother, and four brothers J.B., Frank, Virgil Lee, and Hulen. He is survived by his wife Frances LaTreece Taylor Gaither of Red Oak, his daughter Carla Dean Gaither of Longview, and his son Steve Gaither and his wife Laquita of DeSoto. His grandchildren are Blake Charles Erskine, Jr. and wife Tammy of Austin, Daphne Dean Scott and husband Blake of Longview, Jeremy Gaither and wife Maribeth of Round Rock, and Michael Gaither and wife Natalie of Duncanville. His great-grandchildren are Sophia and Olivia Erskine; Wyatt, Georgia Dean and Mary Blake Scott; Gabrielle De La Cruz and husband Bryan Goodrow; and, Madeline "Maddie" and Auden "Audie" Gaither. He is also survived by numerous nieces and nephews. O.D. was loved by many for his quiet demeanor, common sense advice, and his love of humor. Even in his final days, he entertained visitors from the lifetime of jokes that he had filed away in his memory.