Wally was born on May 19, 1940. He first greeted the world in Newberg, Oregon. His parents were Walter and Velma Otto. He grew up in Oakgrove, Oregon. He also spent time with his grandparents in Kalama, Washington. One of the most favorite memories was that on Labor Day there was always a celebration at his mom and dads including family and friends, bingo, and lots of food. Wally attended Oakgrove Elementary School. One of Wally's biggest accomplishments during this time included the fact that he had perfect attendance at school through the 8th grade. On a family trip to California, the car broke down when they had gotten...
Wally was born on May 19, 1940. He first greeted the world in Newberg, Oregon. His parents were Walter and Velma Otto. He grew up in Oakgrove, Oregon. He also spent time with his grandparents in Kalama, Washington. One of the most favorite memories was that on Labor Day there was always a celebration at his mom and dads including family and friends, bingo, and lots of food.
Wally attended Oakgrove Elementary School. One of Wally's biggest accomplishments during this time included the fact that he had perfect attendance at school through the 8th grade. On a family trip to California, the car broke down when they had gotten as far as Grants Pass. They had to stay there waiting for it to be repaired so he went fishing. It just so happened that Bing Crosby was also staying there and they fished together.
During his high school years, Wally responded enthusiastically to any new project and was normally in search of one adventure after another. He graduated from Milwaukie High School in 1958.
For Wally, his life was just about as busy outside of high school as it was inside. With a talent for making friends easily, Wally was very sociable and could blend without effort into any number of different social groups. Assertive and outgoing, he was easy to know and often demonstrated a deep concern for others. He always seemed aware of what was going on with people around him and throughout his life he made many, many friends. Wally loved cars, especially hot rods. Wally and a group of friends also helped sneak in "The Bomber" that we all know in Milwaukie. The owners couldn't get a permit for it so they had it moved in during the night with the help of Wally and friends.
Wally was quite sensitive in all of his relationships. Lorrie Otto discovered this firsthand. Wally and some friends were out at a dance hall in Portland when they met Lorrie and one of her friends. Wally's car was blocking the girls and they wouldn't move it until they got the phone numbers. Lorrie didn't think Wally would remember it so she gave him her number. What she didn't realize was that he had written it into the dirt on the back of his car, so he did call her. On their first date, Lorrie wouldn't go unless her girlfriend went along. So, Wally agreed and brought a friend of his as well. They went for coffee, and then went home. For several dates after that all they did was coffee, or sometimes dinner.
Wally was stationed in Forks, Washington for a time while they were dating and had asked Lorrie to marry him on many occasions, and she repeatedly had said no. One day she received a package in the mail with a note that said "Do not open until I call". When Wally called he told her to open the package and in it was 45 record, he told her to play it and that would explain "Why" he wanted to marry her. The song was "Why I Love You".
He exchanged vows with Lorrie Otto on February 6, 1960. The Maid of Honor was Carol Bell and the Best Man was Lee Sayers. They were married at St. Francis Church in Sherwood, Oregon. The reception was also held at the church.
Following the wedding the honeymoon was supposed to be at a cabin in Washington but when they headed out the rain was so bad they could barely see the road so they pulled into a little motel in Milwaukie, parked the car out of sight so their friends wouldn't know they hadn't left town, and they stayed there for the honeymoon night.
Their first residence was 2 room apartment in Portland where the kitchen sink was hidden behind cabinet doors. The first house was in Tigard. It was a small 1 bedroom house that they eventually had to put up a plywood partition in because the first baby was on the way.
The couple made a number of good friends as they were building their family, including Ben and Dee Aichele, Harrison and Lynn Bryant, Bill and Rosalie Schmidt, Jack and Lois Plemmons, Larry and Helen Petch. There were so many good times with backyard BBQ's, pool parties, music and dancing, boating and horseshoes. The family also included some pets, especially Snoopy the Dachshund Terrier, Ginger the terrier mutt, and Piewacket the Persian cat with one blue eye and one green eye. The two most memorable pet stories were first that the neighbor dog Bandit could not get away from her true love Snoopy and everyone within the neighborhood had one of their puppies at one time or another. And the second was the neighbor dog Rocky. Wally loved to BBQ and after spending an entire day marinating the biggest and best looking steak of the summer he threw it on the BBQ and cooked it to perfection, at which point Rocky reached up and helped himself to the best steak he had ever had. Needless to say the entire neighborhood heard Wally for hours and Rocky was no longer mans best friend.
One the most fun organizations Wally belonged to was the CB club in Tigard. All the friends and the kids were taken to the "CB Breaks" held at the local pizza place. Wally was known as Zorba to his CB friends. I am sure he would want to give a big shout out to Undecided, Little Venus, OJ, Pony Express, Bumblebee, Blue Goose and the Springers.
Wally had four children, Debbie Hicks (husband Mitch) of Tigard, Aaron Scott Otto of Milwaukie, Cindy Stroecker (husband Ken) of Knoxville, TN and Michelle Otto (husband Joshua) of Vancouver, WA. The most fun was had at Crooked River Ranch. His kids learned to ride motorcycles, go on dune buggy rides and the best ride was on "The Beast". He was also spontaneous, he woke up his daughter Debbie, who was 11 at the time, and told her he was taking her on a trip to San Francisco the very next morning. She will always remember that special time.
The kids were basically raised in two homes. The first was a ranch style house in a neighborhood where all the kids were friends, stayed outside and played, or had backyard plays and picnics and then went for a swim in the pool that Wally was in most of the time. The second home was a large Spanish style stucco home that they built.
Later in life, he was also blessed with eight grandchildren, Bo Hicks, Curt Transue, Christina Whedon, Christopher Transue, Raistlin Otto, Cierra Stroecker, Audrey Stroecker, Emerson Orr and great-granddaughter Hailey Hicks.
In later years, he also welcomed his wife's son John Tabshy and wife Annie and children Joshua, Ashley, Taylor and Dylan into the family. Although he was never able to spend time with all of the children, he spoke highly of the ones he did meet. He often referred to Taylor and Dylan as really great kids.. and really enjoyed the time he spent with Josh camping on the 4th of July.
Wally was uplifted by new ideas. New possibilities always seemed to excite him. These were traits which made him an exceptional worker. His first full time position was in insurance sales. There were many interesting and unique jobs such as a Hokie salesperson, Pogs, and developing the Scratch Ticket Incentive Program for Command Performance Video. Wally's primary occupation was working in sales.
Though Wally didn't go out of his way to seek out personal accolades, they seemed to just naturally come to him. Wally was a great salesperson. He won many sales incentive trips so that he and Lorrie traveled to many places such as London, Greece, Austria, Mexico, Amsterdam and Windsor Castle. Wally really enjoyed the Electronic Shows in Las Vegas.
Like in other aspects of his life, Wally was able to make friends easily in the workplace. One of these friends was Dave Knight.
Wally served for three years in the US Coast Guard. He was stationed in San Francisco where he chased Russian subs out of the bay. He was also stationed on the USS Sedge in Alaska and was there when Alaska became a state.
Wally loved to have a broad variety of activities in his life, and he pursued numerous hobbies. Some of his favorite hobbies were Gardening, Ebay, Classic Cars, Reading, and Keno.
He enjoyed many things throughout his life. When it came to food and drink, he enjoyed homecooking. He enjoyed reading, especially James Michener. Wally enjoyed watching "Survivor", "Amazing Race", "Deadliest Catch" and the most favorite movie he watched was "Shrek". Wally enjoyed many types of music. Some favorites were Pink Floyd - Dark Side of the Moon, and many old hits from the 50's and 60's. Wally loved the summer because that meant trips to the ranch, reading in the sun, boating and BBQ's. He also enjoyed trips to Vegas.
Wally really enjoyed watching the grandkids participate in all of their special events. He saw Bo graduate from plumbers school and become a wonderful father to Hailey. He was able to watch Christopher and Raistlin play football. Curt loved hiking the mountains and telling Wally all about it. Christina was only one of two girls playing on the boys basketball team in middle school. She also helped to research possible ways to help Wally by finding an acupuncturist for him to see. Raistlin also helped in a fundraiser for Doernbechers Childrens Hospital by playing guitar in a talent show. Just last week Cierra was able to travel with her school band to Orlando. Wally was proud of all of his grandchildren.
Wally Otto left us on April 29th, 2011. He passed away at the Veterans Hospital in Portland, Oregon. He was 70 years old. The cause of death was Prostate Cancer. He was preceded in death by his father and mother, his grandson Jeremy Bacon and his Uncle Oodie Otto. He is survived by his wife, 4 children, 8 grandchildren, 1 great-granddaughter and many extended family and friends. Services were handled by Skyline Memorial Gardens and Funeral Home. Wally will be laid to rest at Riverview Abbey in Portland, Or.
There was always a certain style and inventiveness to Wally. He was a dynamic, self-expressive person who was forever looking to celebrate the endless possibilities life had to offer. He had a knack for being clever, creative, and witty. For others, he was a joy to be around. While he was often fiercely independent, many others looked to him for inspiration, leadership, wisdom, and even courage. Walter Louis Otto was always more than willing to share life's experiences with those he loved.