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Donald G. Otto, age 80, of Menasha, passed away Friday June 7, 2019. Don was born August 9, 1938, in Appleton to the late Albert and Anita (Schwabenlender) Otto.
Don attended St. Joseph Grade School in Appleton and was a 1957 graduate of St. Mary Central High School in Menasha where he excelled playing football and basketball. Don was a member of multiple conference football championship teams and two state basketball teams for the Zephyrs. He is fondly remembered for scoring the winning touchdown against top-ranked Madison Edgewood by intercepting a pass and running it back 75 yards in the final minute of the game. Don will always be a “hall of famer” in our hearts.
Don married Judith Miller in 1960. They met at the Chain O’Lakes in Waupaca during the summer of 1957. Don and Judy would have celebrated 59 years of marriage on June 25.
Don was a proud U.S. Army veteran, serving during the Cuban Missile Crisis. After completing basic training at Fort Carson, Colorado in 1961, he took his medical training at Fort Sam Houston, Texas and then was assigned to Camp Wolters near Mineral Wells Texas. Shortly after he was discharged in November of 1963, Don began working at George Banta Co. He worked there for 37 years, primarily in the bindery department. Don retired in 2000.
Over the years, Don enjoyed many sports. He was a loyal fan of the Chicago Cubs, Green Bay Packers, and Notre Dame Fighting Irish. Don was so happy to live to see the Cubs win a World Series in 2016. He always enjoyed sharing his memorable story about attending the “Ice Bowl” in 1967. Don loved to tell this story and always finished by saying, “It took me until the following Wednesday to thaw out.”
Don especially enjoyed Facetiming his children and grandchildren. His five grandchildren were the pride and joy of his life. He loved hearing about their accomplishments in school, sports, and other memorable events. He looked forward to attending concerts and games when he could by having his camera ready to capture every moment. Family gatherings and holidays were very important to Don. He especially looked forward to having his family over for Christmas. Don loved watching his grandchildren open presents while he would serve as the holder of the large bag ready to receive countless balls of crumpled up wrapping paper thrown at him.
Don is survived by his wife Judy, their children: Christopher (Sara) East Troy, Wisconsin; Craig (Sonia), Round Rock, Texas; and Heather (Trent), Franklin, Wisconsin. He is also survived by five grandchildren: Cameron, Madeline, Ethan, Sophia, and Lily. Don is further survived by his twin brother, David (Colleen) Otto, a sister, Janet Otto Menozzi, and many nieces and nephews. Don was preceded in death by his sisters and brother, Sister Rose Marie Otto, Margaret Otto, and Albert “Buddy” Otto Jr., respectively. He is further preceded in death by his step-sisters Deloris Schwabenlender and Betty Hoffman; and a brother-in-law, William Menozzi.
A gathering of family and friends will be held from 4:00 p.m. until 6:00 p.m. on Friday, June 21, 2019, at the Kessler Funeral Home, 304 S. Commercial St., Neenah with a short prayer service and Military Honors to follow. In lieu of flowers, a memorial is being established. For online condolences, please visit: www.kesslerfh.com
The family would like to extend sincere gratitude to Bridgette, Lisa, and Dr. B. from the VA in Appleton who took great care of Don over the years. They made a difference and the family appreciates their efforts.
We would finally like to recognize our mother, Judy. Dad always reminded us how much he appreciated how she devoted years to caring for him at home, driving him to his many doctor’s appointments, and spending countless hours waiting at the hospital. Mom gave Dad all of her love and was very nurturing. We love you Mom!
Don was seen as a caring, funny, and loving husband, father, grandfather, brother, uncle, and friend. He will be missed by so many and will always be famously known for his many “Don-isms.”
We leave you with one. This is for you up in heaven Dad, “Don’t take any wooden nickels!”