Amos Otieno Odenyo, 1935 — 2007

by Martin Odenyo

With much sorrow we announce the passing of Amos Otieno Odenyo. Amos was born to Zablon Sangoro Odenyo and Grace Dina Adero (Obuong) Odenyo on April 18, 1935 in Regea village, Gem, Kenya. Amos attended Kisii High School from 1955 to 1958. During these years life-long friendships were established and a pioneering spirit was formed. From 1959 to 1961, Amos was stationed in Mombasa as an Assistant Inspector of Police, a remarkable achievement in Kenya’s pre-independence era. In 1961, Amos was among the first in his generation to travel outside of East Africa, attending Augustana College in South Dakota, U.S.A., where he received a B.A. in Political Science in 1965. Amos continued his university studies at the University of Wyoming, and received a M.A. in Sociology in 1967. In 1970, Amos earned a Ph.D. in Sociology from the University of Minnesota.

From 1972 until 2007, Dr. Amos Odenyo was a Professor of Sociology at York College (CUNY) in Queens, New York. He also served as the Chairman of the Department of Social Sciences during the majority of the years between 1972 and 1994. In summers of 1973 and 1974, Amos provided cross-cultural training to U.S. Peace Corps volunteers in Nairobi, Kenya, and in 1974 he was a Research Associate at the University of Nairobi. Amos published several articles focusing on Kenyan development and the culture of the Luo of western Kenya. Amos was a member of the Board of Trustees of World Education Inc., and a member of numerous professional associations in the fields of African Studies and Sociology.

In 1967, Amos married Mayone V. Dahlk of Grove City, Minnesota. The marriage was blessed with two children, Dina Atieno (born 1970), and Martin Odera (born 1971). Amos had a son, Archibald Omondi (1962-2007), born within a previous marriage to Judith Olal of Ramula village, Gem, Kenya. Over the course of four decades, Amos contributed to the development of the extended Odenyo family by supporting the educational ambitions of numerous family members. Amos consistently supported the local schools and St. Peters church of Regea village, which he frequently visited. Amos attended his last service and fundraising event at St. Peters on July 1, 2007.

His wife and daughter, as well as several life-long friends, were by his side as he passed away at his home in New York due to cancer on July 28, 2007. Amos leaves behind his wife Mayone, their two children, six grandchildren, and siblings Rosalie Odhiambo, Olivia Agwa, Victor Odenyo, Olga Onyango, and Booker Odenyo. His family remembers him as a calm, gentle, and compassionate man, with an inspiring life story. Memorial services are scheduled for Saturday, August 4, in Queens, NYC, and burial is tentatively scheduled for Saturday, August 11, in Gem, Kenya. May the Lord grant him Peace.