Family Of Joel Odom Speaks Out

Charlotte, North Carolina is mourning the sudden passing of Joel Odom, the 22-year-old who ran in the 2019 Democratic primary against Charlotte Mayor Vi Lyles. He was found dead in his home on Thursday (February 25) and his family is now speaking out. 

His great-grandmother Vera Williams told WSOC-TV, “He wanted to do whatever he could do for everybody.” 

As for not winning the mayoral election, Williams, who raised Odom when his mother passed away, believed he would have eventually been successful, “He wasn’t going to quit this at all. He was going to try until he got it.”

She also added, “I thought he was going to make it.”

Former mayoral candidate Lucille Puckett also said, “He was an old soul.” 

When Puckett learned he passed away, she said. “My heart stopped beating for a moment,” she said.

Odom, who entered the mayoral race at 20, was the youngest candidate in the field of five Dems and finished fourth with 3.6 percent of the vote.

“Someone has to inspire young people,” Odom told WBTV in 2019. “That’s the only solution. Someone has to really care about the individuals in Charlotte, and I care.”

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Odom also told The Charlotte Observer that he was inspired to run after “seeing so many young people dying on the street.” 

After being defeated, Odom continued to work in his community. In October 2020, he partnered with the Salvation Army Center of Hope for Women and Children and Regal Little Miss Teen North Carolina to host a donation drive. During it, donors were asked to drop off bed sheets, blankets, socks, and health products for the shelter, which sleeps more than 300 women and children.

It isn’t clear at this time Odom’s cause of death. WBTV reported that Odom’s father found his body inside a bathroom in his residence.

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