|Lieutenant Colonel Gerald Arthur Ottem
Gerald Arthur Ottem, 90, of Seaside, died Saturday, April 26, 2008, in Seaside, Oregon, of age-related issues.
He was born Dec. 23, 1917, in Custer, Mont., to Olaus and Mary (Shay) Ottem. He grew up in Billings, Mont., Oakland, Calif., and Fairbanks, Ala. He graduated from the University of Alaska, School of Mines, in 1942, with a degree in Mining Engineering, and played varsity basketball. He worked for his Uncle, Fritz Awe, at his gold mine in Flat, Ala., to earn money for college and continued to work there in the summers during college. He also worked as a mining engineer in Kellog, Idaho and Spokane, Wash. He was a Mason, member of the American Legion, and the Elks.
On Jan. 14, 1943, he married Josephine20(Jo) Lucille Kelly in New Haven, Conn. They met and became engaged while at the University of Alaska. He was at Yale as an aviation cadet receiving maintenance engineering training and later attended the Air Force Institute of Technology to complete a degree in aeronautical engineering.
He served during World War II, Korea, and Vietnam as an Aircraft Maintenance Officer, from 1943-1973, retiring as a Lieutenant Colonel. He and his wife, Jo, loved military life and had assignments abroad in Edmonton, Canada; Chitose, Japan; Laon, France; Ramstein, West Germany, and seven locations throughout the U.S. After retiring from the Air Force in 1973 he worked for MBB, a German aircraft company near Munich, West Germany, on NATO’S MRCA aircraft project from 1973-1978. In 1978, he and his wife returned to the U.S. to settle in Newport where his wife had family roots; her paternal grandparents and parents had owned and operated the Kelly Hotel at Nye Beach from 1910-1917.
He was preceded in death by his beloved wife, Jo, in 1991; son Richard Kelly Ottem, a USAF Pilot, in 1975; half-sister Evelyn (Folker) Awe. He will be remembered as a devoted husband; a loving, supportive, and caring father and grandfather; and a good friend to many people. He was a kind and generous man, and always willing to give sage advice when asked.
He is survived by a daughter Lynn Ottem of Seaside; son and daughter-in-law Mark (Buz) and Janet Ottem of Seaside; daughte r, Karen Ottem, of Seaside; grandchildren Jacob and Dana Ottem of Seaside. He has cousins and other relatives in Alaska, Montana, North Dakota, Oregon and Norway.
A celebration of life was held at 2:30 p.m. on Saturday, May 3, at Suzanne Elise Assisted Living, 101 Forest Drive, Seaside. Memorial contributions may be made to Lower Columbia Hospice or the Clatsop County Animal Shelter, c/o Hughes-Ransom Mortuary.