Odetta Keating was born Apr 17, 1918, at Agassiz, BC, to Harold Hicks and Orrie (Cram).
Her father was Director of the Dominion Experimental Farm, where she spent her formative years. After graduating from UBC with a BSA in 1939 she entered graduate school and obtained an MSA in Soil Science in 1941, the first woman at UBC to do so.
Following graduation she married Dr Gordon Mathias and lived in New Westminster and Burnaby where she was active in community affairs while raising her three children. After her husband’s death in 1953, Odetta returned to UBC to obtain teaching qualifications in 1954.
She moved to Penticton in 1955 and began her teaching career at Penticton High School, where she was a student counselor and taught chemistry and other subjects until her retirement in 1974.
After marrying Ken Keating in 1962 she moved to an orchard property in Naramata, which she continued to farm after Ken’s death in 1967. During this time she continued to be an active supporter of the Progressive Conservative Party, for which she ran provincially. After her “retirement”, Odetta sold the farm to her son and worked with CUSO, teaching in Tanzania from 1975-77. She returned to Penticton , but travelled extensively for many years, often in the company of her long-time friend and teaching colleague, Pat Gwyer.
Odetta was elected as a Penticton School Board Trustee for several terms. In addition she volunteered her talents to many local organizations, including the Retired Teachers Association and the Heart & Stroke Foundation, and participated in book and discussion groups. She also continued to grow a large garden at the family farm.
At the time of her passing in 2002, Odetta resided in Penticton.