Pastor Odether Bady Sr. was born on May 11, 1939 the fifth of 14 children, in the Delta in Mississippi. He came to Chicago at the age of 18, along with his brother George during the Great Migration—one of millions of Blacks who left towns in the Jim Crow South to seek better economic opportunities in the North.
He worked in the manufacturing and construction industry with his brother for several years, although as a young man Odether always dreamed of and even considered becoming a boxer. However, God had other plans and would eventually lead him in a new direction.
Pastor Bady had accepted Jesus as his personal savior at an early age at Shaw Mississippi’s Bethlehem M.B. Church under the leadership of Pastor Brown, and this love of Christ carried him through as a young family man, once he settled in Chicago. During this time, he served as a deacon at Macedonia M.B. Church under Pastor Grady Watkins for 12 years. He was later ordained and licensed as a minister.
In 1961, he met and married his first wife, Martha Carol Wordlaw, and they were the parents to six children—five sons: Percy, Odether Jr., George, Robert and Raymond; and one daughter, Florida.
As his family grew, he joined the Greater St. John M.B. Church in 1972, under the leadership of C.T. Baker. Later, he would serve as an associate minister under E.M. Lesure.
In 1977, Pastor Bady was called to pastor Christian Valley M.B. Church in East Chicago Heights, Illinois, now known as Ford Heights. He would shepherd there for 36 years. Although he was a full-time pastor, he also worked as a safety officer at Helen M. Hefferan Elementary School within the Chicago Public School system. He worked there until he retired in 1983.
The couple was married for 25 years, until Martha’s death.
After Martha’s death, Pastor Bady married Leoria Rush, and together they had one son, Taiche E. Bady. He also had one stepdaughter, Cassandra Rush. Pastor Odether and Leoria were married 33 years until his death on Saturday, January 9, 2021.
Overall, Pastor Bady wore many hats. To many who loved him, he was known as Uncle Duck, Honey, Dad, Daddy, Bady, Mr. Bady, Reverend and Pastor Bady.
He loved cooking, fishing, visiting the sick and helping people in need. Family members would come from across the Chicagoland area to his home for his famous summer fish fries. More importantly, he loved Jesus and would always ask if you knew Him and, “Are You Saved?”
During Pastor Bady’s lifetime, he had lost many cherished family members, including his parents: Frank and Mollie Lee Bady; his first wife, Martha; son, George Edward; sisters: Evastine, Leola, Mollie Lee, Ruthie Mae and brothers: Nora Sr., Frank Jr., Joseph, Jefferson Sr., George Bady Sr.
He is survived by his wife of 33 years, Leoria. He also leaves to cherish his joyous and spirit-filled life seven children: Percy (Theresa), Odether Jr., Florida, Robert (Mollie), Raymond (Chilond), Taiche and stepdaughter, Cassandra (William); 13 grandchildren: Tasha, Darryl, Jasmine, Jaimond, Dasia, Odether III, Chartese, Yumika, Tyler, Marta, Carmiya, Iain, Kasadii; two step-grandchildren: Dana and Caelah; nine great grandchildren; three sisters: Mae Nola, Carol (Walter), Ernestine (David); one brother, Charlie (Michele); two sisters-in-law; four brothers-in-law; four Godchildren: Diecha, Luciana, Larry and Larine; and a host of aunts, nieces, nephews, cousins* and friends.
A tribute for Pastor Odether Bady Sr. was held on Saturday, January 23, with a live-streamed concert hosted by his son, Gospel producer/songwriter/singer Percy Bady and other family members.
*The Crusader’s Entertainment Editor, Elaine Hegwood Bowen, is one of Pastor Bady’s cousins, and she will never forget the reverence afforded to him during family gatherings for his passionate commitment to encouraging others to live right through the words of Jesus Christ.