Janie O’Dell, GMC dealer in Missouri, dies
PHOENIX — Janie O’Dell, president of Westfall GMC Truck in Kansas City, Mo., died Jan. 15. She was 89.
O’Dell began her career as a bookkeeper in the 1940s and went on to help build a company that was recognized in 1997 by Working Woman magazine as one of the top 50 women-owned businesses in the United States.
She became a partner in Westfall GMC in 1951. The dealership sells light vehicles as well as larger trucks. She was also president of Westfall-O’Dell Motors (Chevrolet-Buick-GMC) in Excelsior Springs, Mo., and of several companies that sell medium- and heavy-duty trucks.
An item in a special edition of the General Motors Women’s Retail Network newsletter this month said O’Dell “was one of the first women listed in Paragraph 3 of a GM dealership agreement.” It honored her as “a woman of many ‘firsts’” who “challenged conventional wisdom and gender bias” and “became a role model and mentor to many, changing the course of retail automotive in the process.”