Peter Odell died on the 12th April 2016 aged 85 after a short decline. Born in humble circumstances in the Leicestershire coalfield at Coalville on July 1st 1930, his grandparents had been miners, his father a railway porter. After the local grammar school, he gained a first in Economic Geography at Birmingham, and then proceeded to a Ph.D.
He had a distinguished career in academia, in Boston, Mass and the London School of Economics, interrupted by three years with Shell. He was appointed to the Foundation Chair and Director of the Centre of International Energy Studies at the Erasmus University of Rotterdam in 1968. For domestic convenience he based his life in Ipswich from 1975. In 1979, he became Tony Benn's, then Labour's Secretary of State for Fuel and Power, special adviser and produced a report “British Oil Policy : a Radical Alternative”, which was not acted upon nor published for many years.
Peter was Chairman of the Society for eight years from 1992; he brought his commanding strategic views of economics and geography with him. He believed that the future of Ipswich lay in the redevelopment of the Waterfront, higher education and tourism. He fought for the retention of the Museum service with great passion, ultimately threatening the Council with a Judicial Review to prevent the down-grading of the Museums. For the Millennium celebrations, he organised a well attended whole day symposium in The Corn Exchange, “Ipswich from the First to the Third Millennium” with a cast of international speakers. He brought to the workings of the the Society the heavy professionalism of the academia to which he was accustomed. He was of enormous intellectual capacity but with a great turn of humour and in many respects, quite unsophisticated and much loved.