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Hamilton County coroner's office to be renamed in honor of Dr. O'dell Owens

Commissioners plan to name the crime lab after Dr. O'dell Owens next year.
Commissioners plan to name the crime lab after Dr. O'dell Owens at the beginning of next year.

On Wednesday the Hamilton County Board of Commissioners voted unanimously to rename the coroner's office in honor of the late Dr. O'dell Owens.

Owens served as the county coroner from 2005 to 2010.

Board President Stephanie Summerow Dumas says renaming the building after Owens is more than just a gesture, it's a way for his name to be remembered so his impact is not soon forgotten.

"It's not about an inanimate object like a building. It's so much more, and it's really not even about the person," Dumas said. "It's about a life and a legacy of someone who gave their entire life to this community."

Before a vote approved the renaming of the building, some who opposed dedicating the facility to Owens expressed their disapproval saying the current coroner, Dr. Lakshmi Sammarco was deserving of the honor.

Mike Trimpe, lab director at the coroner's office said other buildings and places around the county could be named after Owens. He says naming the office after Sammarco would make more sense because of her hand in designing the county's labs and transitioning to the new building that was finished in 2021.

For Vice President Alicia Reece, the decision to stick with Owens was an easy one considering his great influence and impact on the Cincinnati area.

"His life can't fit on LinkedIn, it can't fit on here, but when you start talking about one of the top doctors in the country when you start talking about an inventor when you start talking about the first to do almost every single thing and still said 'I want to call Hamilton County my home,' when to me this guy was at the level of Dr. Fauci in my book. I just think most people thought it was a no-brainer," Reece said.

The coroner's office and crime lab in Blue Ash will officially be renamed in honor of Dr. O'dell Owens at the start of the new year.

Zack Carreon is Education reporter for WVXU, covering local school districts and higher education in the Tri-State area.