John Oden MECOM

October 9, 1939July 22, 2020

After more than 80 years spent with us as a son, brother, classmate, friend, scholar, teacher, coach, artist, author, musician, husband, father and grandfather, Dr. John Oden Mecom left this world on July 22, 2020, to begin a brand new adventure. We know that wherever this new adventure leads, John is enthusiastically asking questions and telling stories! John was born on October 9, 1939, in Winnsboro, Louisiana, to Hazel Oden and Russell Sage Mecom. He was a kind, smart, athletic, hard-working boy who made the most of a modest upbringing. He graduated near the top of his class at Ruston High School in1957, and set out on what would become a decade-long journey through higher education.

After his sophomore year at Louisiana Tech, John snagged the summer job of a lifetime, earning a coveted appointment to spend the summer of 1959 as a dishwasher at the Old Faithful Inn in Yellowstone National Park. John’s time in Yellowstone was the catalyst for his lifelong reverence of the rugged outdoors. Even more enchanting than the mountain peaks, however, was the lovely Duke sorority girl from Maryland who was waitressing at the Inn that summer. Following his graduation from Louisiana Tech with a B.S. degree in Education, John married Caroline Christina Hansen in Silver Spring, Maryland, on August 19, 1961, and they embarked on a wonderful 59-year odyssey together. John earned an M.S. degree in biology from Northwestern University in 1963 and a Ph.D in zoology in 1969 from the University of Colorado in Boulder.

He began his career as an assistant professor of biology at Southern Methodist University from 1969-1974, then spent more than 30 years teaching biology and anatomy on the faculty of Richland College in Dallas. In 1973, Dr. Mecom participated in the first limnological study of Lake Skadar in Montenegro as a member of the Smithsonian Institution’s Oceanography and Limnology Program. Back in Dallas, Dr. Mecom gave numerous lectures on ecology to civic, religious and academic groups and was renowned for leading expeditions to Big Bend National Park on behalf of the Dallas Museum of History. In1997 he was named alumnus of the year by the Louisiana Tech College of Education.

As accomplished as he was, John would tell you his greatest achievements were his boys, Jeff and Jim. He was omnipresent in their lives and left no doubt that his devotion to them was absolute. He coached their soccer teams, took them camping and skiing, never missed a game or school event, and engineered epic family road trips during his summers off from teaching. John was a legend among the boys’ peers for his dry wit and blunt delivery. When his sons grew up and got married, John embraced their wives, Lynne Hill Mecom and Kathy Coghlan Mecom, and became “Pops” to his three beloved grandchildren, Luke, Bennett and Kendall.

In retirement, John was an avid painter, sang in the choir at First United Methodist Church Richardson and volunteered at Baylor Scott & White Heart Hospital in Plano. He achieved his life-long dream of becoming a published fiction author when his novels; The Caldera Incident, Luca’s Run​ and​ High Fall​ were released on Amazon. John and Caroline shared a great love of traveling, and visited over 50 countries in their 59 years together. His favorite pastime, however, was following his grandkids’ athletic pursuits, recitals and academic milestones, rarely missing an event. John is surely thrilled to reunite with those who have gone before him, including his beloved younger sister Mary Mecom McConaughy, his older brother Bill Mecom, his long-time ski buddy and confidante, Pete Stone, his high school classmates and the many great friends he has made along his journey.

The family will honor John privately at this time.

In lieu of flowers, please consider honoring John with an online ​Tribute Gift to the National Park Foundation (​ or by mailing a check ​to Superintendent, Yellowstone National Park, Attn. Finance Office, PO Box 168, Yellowstone National Park, WY 82190.


No public services are scheduled at this time. Receive a notification when services are updated.


John Oden MECOM

have a memory or condolence to add?

Debbie Mulvenna

August 7, 2020

Caroline, I’m so very sorry to hear about John’s passing. I remember his great laugh and the way he looked at you, with such love in his eyes. Prayers for comfort and a flood of wonderful memories to wrap around you. Debbie

Sandra Horne

July 28, 2020

Dear Caroline and family,
I am so sorry for your loss and send loving wishes to all in this time of sorrow. Of course I am remembering times in Yellowstone from so many years ago and how wonderful that summer was. And so thankful for John's books.
I send my condolences and love,
Sandy Horne

Rick Jaeger

July 27, 2020

It was great to get to know John at Frisco High Football and Basketball games. watching our grandsons play. We would sit together and complain about the coaching and the referees. Our grandsons continue to be good friends and I am so glad that my wife and I got to know John and Caroline. Our time together at these games became one of the highlights of our trips to Texas We want to express our deepest sympathy to John’s family.
Rick and Benay Jaeger


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