Odis E. Horsley, Jr.

July 23, 1956 ‒ November 13, 2017

Sunbury, Ohio

“Taking the time to build community, to get to know your people will have long-lasting benefits.” Clifton Taulbert

Lovingly referred to as “Mr. Big Walnut”, Odis Horsley was the spirit and embodiment of the Sunbury community and he will be missed by all who had the fortune of getting to know him.

Odis E. Horsley, Jr., age 61 of Sunbury died unexpectedly early Monday morning, November 13, 2017 at his home.

He was born on July 23, 1956 in Columbus, Ohio the son of the late Odis E. Sr. and Marjorie M. (Conkle) Horsley.

Odis was a 1974 graduate of Big Walnut High School and his continued devotion to his school and community led him to over 29 years of service as the Administrator of Maintenance and Grounds.  His responsibilities included tasks across the district, but there was nothing nearer to his heart than the football field.  He loved painting the lines on Friday nights and mowing the grass.  In fact, you could say a small piece of his heart broke when he was forced to file for disability and was no longer allowed to mow his field.

His contributions to the football program extended beyond his work on the field.  He never missed a game and drove the equipment truck to all away games.  He was named honorary Homecoming Coach too many times to count.

His commitment to Sunbury also led to directly impacting its’ youth, coaching little league softball and youth football.  He touched the lives of many kids over the years.

On June 12, 1992, he Married Diana Billingsley at the old Sunbury United Methodist Church on Columbus Street.  Often referred to as, “Odis’ wife”, she was always by his side at various school functions and at church at Genoa Baptist.  He loved his family, especially his girls, his stepson John, and his grandboys.

When Odis wasn’t focused on Big Walnut or his family, he enjoyed fishing at Alum Creek and OSU football.

He will be missed by his wife Diana; his girls Jennifer Valentine and her husband John of Clintonville, Jean Horsley of Sunbury, Brenda Horsley of Columbus, and Tina Conkle of Mount Vernon; step-son John Bowsher of Westerville; 8 grandchildren Scottie, Christopher, Brady, Abbey, Alex, Connor, Mikey, and Tate; brother Dwayne and his wife Rochelle of Delaware; and many nieces and nephews.

In addition to his parents he was preceded in death by his sister Ann Campbell.

Friends may call on the family on Friday, November 17, 2017 from 4-8 PM and an hour before the service on Saturday all at the Genoa Baptist Church, 7562 Lewis Center Rd, Westerville, OH 43082.  Funeral services will be held there on Saturday at 10 AM.  Following the service we will leave the church in procession, do a “Victory Lap” around the square and head to the high school where a brief committal service will be performed on the 50 yard line of the football field.  Private inurnment will take place at Sunbury Memorial Park at a later date.

We’re hoping for a “Red Out” on the day of the service at the church.  Please wear your favorite RED Big Walnut gear.

The family asks that rather than send flowers, please make contributions to the funeral home to assist with funeral expenses.  Envelopes will be available at the church or contributions can be mailed to the funeral home at 637 North State Route 61, Sunbury, Ohio 43074.

The DeVore-Snyder Funeral Home of Sunbury is honored to serve Mr. Horsley’s family.  Special memories and condolences can be shared with them at www.snyderfuneralhomes.com

  • Odis was so very well liked and he was one of the biggest if not the biggest Big Walnut supporter.I will always remember him driving the Big Walnut bus on Friday nights. Our deepest condolences.

  • To Diana and family,
    I have always loved seeing Odis at the football games he was one of Big Walnuts greatest supporters and love for the school. As I told you before he looked good the last time I saw him and he knew my name which surprised me but showed me he cared there is no words to describe I know how you’re feeling but if you need anything you know you have the whole town supporting you and your family rest in peace Odis…
    love Erica Matt and Jake Burkey

  • Odis was a man my family respected and cared for a lot. He was genuine and had a great sense of humor. You always felt better after seeing and talking to him.
    The Sunbury community has lost one of its best.
    Condolences to you Diana and heartfelt sympathy.

    Janie Hawkins

  • My heart is broken for your family and the Big Walnut Community. Odis was an amazing human being. A friend to all, it seemed to me. I loved seeing his smile. It is an honor to have known him.

    Best Wishes Diana and family.

  • I am so sorry for the loss of your beloved Odis I thought the world of him and enjoyed working with him at Big Walnut. He was special. With Lots of love Kay Matney

  • Our hearts are broken to learn of Odis’ passing. We send love to you Diana and the family. Odis will be missed so greatly. He was so much a part of EVERYTHING Big Walnut! And you have been also, Diana. We love you and there are many hugs waiting for you as our paths meet. You are in our prayers. May the love of The Lord and the love of those around you comfort you in the coming days. Love From Sara, Jerry and Matty.


  • Diane,
    Understand that the entire Big Walnut community grieves with you. I remember Odis as a student in my 8th grade American History class. We worked together one summer as school custodians. As you know, we remained friends over the years and we enjoyed watching BW teams participate in athletic events. You both have made a huge impact on the Big Walnut community.

  • Diana,
    We were so sorry to hear of the passing of Odis. Odis and I grew up together and have always been good friends. We definitely lost a good one yesterday. Timmie and I will always cherish those times and talks that Odis and we had on the way to and from doctors’ appointments this past year. R.I.P. Odis, we love you and miss you!! Diana, God Bless You and your family!

  • Diana and Family, May God bless you and your family as you make your way thru this trying time in your lives! I was blessed to see Otis at a Big Walnut football game recently and spoke for a little while! He was always happiest when watching all his kids play! We always visited at the little league field and my family will always think of him whenever we’re watching our Grandchildren play any sport! He was and always will be Big Walnuts biggest fan! He will be dearly missed! Much love and sympathy, Chris, Mike and all the Bronkar Family

  • Diana to you and your family I send my prayers and hugs. Odis will be missed by so many friends, family, community and the list could go on and on. The biggest Big Walnut fan ever . He is at peace and suffering no more, God Bless you may your faith get you thru these hard times. Eugenia Anderson

  • Diana ,Odis will be missed but he will always be remembered Mr. Big Walnut has put a smile on so many children & his School friends through out his life..Sending you Prayers & hug.!!

  • Otis was the heart and soul of what our beloved sunbury..always a helping hand,a funny joke,or just a smile would tell a story..we love you odis,keep looking down on our small community that you made great…

  • What can I say sugar……was devastated when I received word that your Odis had passed away. I’m so glad I got to hug him and give him a kiss at P.J.s the week before. I can honestly say “I know how you feel” since I lost Bill last year. Thank God we have families to get us thru these tough times. Love you sugar!!!! He is with Bill and they are together in heaven. Lord knows He will have to look after those two!!

  • Diana and family. I am so sorry for your loss. Odis was so special to me. I will always miss his hugs. Keeping you in my thoughts

  • To Odis’s family,
    So many good memories back in our school days.
    We are so very sorry for your loss of Odis.. Our prayers are with you….
    Ron & Debbie Boggs

  • Odis represents the absolute best that Big Walnut has stood for throught the years. I will always have vivid memories of Odis and his positive influence he has had on many generations of Big Walnut students. He was and will always be a selfless warrior for all that is great about a strong Big Walnut community. RIP Odis. Godspeed to the Horsley family during this tough time.

  • Odis was a “one of a kind” guy. If you are one of the lucky ones, then, you know Odis or someone like him. I am very lucky – I knew him in school and he was just the nicest, sweetest guy in the world. Trust me, there is a place reserved in heaven for Odis. He loved everyone!!! I know EVERYONE loved Odis. God Rest His Beautiful, Loving, Giving Soul.

  • I graduated with Odis in 1974. He was always the one everyone liked, and I enjoyed yelling his name out in the crowd , and watching his big smile spread like a sun rise. Anytime I came back to Sunbury I would always look for him, and feel a little sad when I didn’t see him. Like a tapestry needs its threads, he was always there to hold up the memories. Thanks Odis, I miss you.

  • So sorry for your loss Diane ,Odis was a wonderful person am so glad that I got to know him. Since leaving Sunbury 17 years ago there are only a handful of people that I think of regularly and he was at the top of list. Will always remember the bus trips we went on as some of the best times.

  • I had the joy and privilege of not only being a classmate with Odis; but remaining friends over the years and sharing Christ Family at Genoa with him. What a wonderful family he and his wife have created. Always the kind heart and as Jack said, big smile. I always enjoyed just being around him and sharing a word. Will miss you big guy for sure. Deepest prayers for family. You made it home!!!

  • A fun loving man with a huge heart of love for his family,friends,and most of all his Alma Matter Big Walnut High School.God made a lot of people,but only one Odis.RIP my friend.

  • Our condolences on your lose. Odis was a good friend and the heart of Eagle football. He will be missed by all who knew him.

  • Diane and family, it is with great sadness that we heard of Odis’ passing. So proud to have known Odis for so many years as a great friend. He will be sadly missed. May peace and comfort come to you throughout this time of sorrow.

    Love Always,

  • Diana and family,
    The community lost a great man on Monday. From all the posts he was dearly loved and will be greatly missed. The Horsleys moved in as our neighbors a few years before I got married, he was a great kid that grew into a great man. I’m sure the church will be packed on Saturday. I won’t be able to attend the viewing or the service but know that our love, thoughts and prayers are with you. Lots of hugs.
    John and Luana Simpson

  • Years ago Odis was our Santa when our grandkids were small. We had our family get together on Christmas Eve. Santa showed up with gifts. I have some good pictures with everyone taking turns sitting on Santa’s lap. He helped make our Christmas fun. One year he even had a Santa’s helper with him. One of his daughters, I believe. He was Santa at one of the stores too, I think it wasa Harts store.
    To all his family and friends our hearts and prayers are with you.
    Edna Hubbard Stanley ( & C. C. Stanley.)

  • Best wishes to your family during this time of sadness. Odis was a kind and hardworking man. Many of us remember him well.

  • Looking over at the bleachers at any Big Walnut sports event, you saw Odis, smiling, and giving all of his support to the players. His smile warms our hearts, and his tight hugs was a comfort only he could give. I am blessed to have known Odis and sit with him whenever I got the chance and talk to him at every halftime. “This is not goodbye, but simply I will see you soon.” My thoughts and prayers go out to the family and friends of the Horsley family and the community of Big Walnut itself. He is loved and will be missed by many.