PATTISON, TX (KTRK) --When Clare Morgan started teaching at Royal Junior High School, she didn't know the teacher next door, Charles Odum, would soon become her dear friend.
"The first year I was there, he would guide all of us new teachers, where the bathroom is, where is the supply closet, and where are the secret supplies," Morgan said. "He was the resource."
Charles Odum, 56, died late Sunday night.
His wife, LaRay, said he had just finished helping his elderly parents evacuate their home because of flooding. Afterwards, he drove down Adams Flat Road in Waller County and never made it home.
Charles' car sank into flood waters. His body was found inside.
The Odum family was too upset to speak on camera, but sent Eyewitness News the following statement:
"Charles was a strong man with a very tender heart. He touched a lot of lives and made a huge impact on the community including his family, co-workers, students and fellow firefighters with the Pattison Aea Volunteer Fire Department. Our hearts are broken but we are finding great comfort in the kind comments from the many who have been impacted by our dad and husband."
Morgan is encouraging her students to write letters to the Odum family.
"I've said, 'Write a letter. Write a letter to Mr. Odom or to LaRay or Shauna or Ethan, and tell a story," Morgan said, "Why did Mr. Odum make an impression, why are you crying? It will help them to heal, but it will also help the Odum family."
The family plans for Odum's memorial service to be held this weekend.