MOUNT CARMEL - William Boyd Otto, 94, died Sunday (March 2, 2014) in Geisinger Medical Center in Danville due to complications from injuries resulting from a fall on Feb. 28.
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He was born in Burgettstown on Feb. 26, 1920, the son of William Albert Otto and Bessie Woodling Otto.
He graduated from Martin's Ferry High School in 1938, where he was a varsity letterwinner in basketball and football. In his junior year, he was a starting member of the Ohio State championship football team.
Immediately after high school, he began employment with Columbia Gas Co., which was interrupted by World War II when he voluntarily enlisted in the U.S. Navy in January 1942. He served in the Pacific Theater until the end of the war.
During his time in the service, he received Navy Good Conduct, American Campaign, Asian Pacific, World War II Victory and other medals. His duties included delivering critical supplies to forward positions - often while disguised as a native islander.
Following his honorable discharge, he served in Columbia Gas offices in Ohio, New York state and Pennsylvania. He worked there until his retirement in 1981, earning numerous promotions and retiring as district manager of the Bradford, Olean (N.Y.) and Warren offices.
Bill lived in Bradford for 31 years, coaching Little League baseball for 20 of those years, with his teams capturing numerous league championships.
He was an active member in the Bradford Lions Club and was the voice of the Bradford Owls varsity basketball and football teams. He was a long-time St. Louis Cardinals fan, starting in the days of Stan Musial. Additionally, he was a fervent fan of the Cleveland Browns and a boyhood friend of Hall of Fame kicker Lou Groza.
Bill's grandfather John was a sergeant in the Union army in the Civil War. He was stationed at Fort Sumter as an artillery man and his battery is reported to have fired the Union's initial shots in the War Between the States. His grandfather was awarded accommodation acknowledging such participation which Bill valued as one of his prized possessions.
On March 3, 1945, he married Sylvia Shingle, to whom he dedicated a life of endless devotion. On the day after his death, Bill and Sylvia would have celebrated their 69th wedding anniversary. They had two daughters, Joyce and Susan.
Bill and Sylvia moved to Elysburg in 1984 to be closer to their daughter and grandchildren, and that is where they lived until his death.
While living in Elysburg, Bill continued his life-long passion for competitive league bowling; his league average often exceeding 200. At the age of 91, he bowled a 600 series in league competition.
Bill spent many hours with his grandchildren, not missing any of their numerous sporting or school events. He also spent a fair amount of time immodestly recounting these activities to others. He was an active member of the Elysburg Presbyterian Church, rarely missing Sunday services until failing health.
He was preceded in death by his parents and seven brothers and sisters, and he is believed to be the last surviving member of the 1936 Martin's Ferry Ohio State championship football team.
In addition to his wife, Sylvia, he is survived by two daughters and sons-in-law, Susan (Michael) Muzzey of St. Louis and Joyce (Michael) Mychak of Elysburg; and four grandchildren, Adam W. Mychak, DMD, of Pittsburgh, Ashley Mychak, DPM, of Philadelphia, Nathan Mychak, PA-C, of Annapolis, Md., and Colin Mychak, who is presently attending medical school in Spartansburg, S.C. He will also be missed by two live-in grandsons, Michael Pasco of Elysburg and Victor Northern of Bloomsburg.
In lieu of flowers, which will be provided by the family, donations can be made to the Wounded Warriors Project. They can be sent to 4899 Belfort Road, Suite 300, Jacksonville, Fla. 32256. More information is available at www.woundedwarriorsproject.org.
Services were held on March 5. Funeral arrangements are under the direction of Rothermel Funeral Home, Mount Carmel.
Willard A. Rothermel Funeral Home
120 South Market Street
Mount Carmel, PA 17851
Published in The Bradford Era from Mar. 18 to Mar. 25, 2014