WASHINGTON - James Bernard Otten, a lifelong resident of Washington, IL, passed into God’s loving embrace Saturday, November 10, 2018 at the OSF Richard L. Owens Hospice Home in Peoria, IL at the age of 87.
A loved father, Jim is survived by his six children: Julie Otten, Laura Otten (Rob Grahek), Karen (Greg) Wilson, Jeff (Carol) Otten, Mark Otten, and Steve Otten; and nine grandchildren: Meg, Noah, Nathan, Robbie, Luke, Charlie, Katie, Maryclare, and Allison. Jim is survived by his brother, Mike Otten of Walnut Creek, CA. He is preceded in death by his beloved wife, Mary (Marsicek) Otten, parents, John and Alice Otten and his brothers, John Otten and Jerry Otten.
Born in San Gabriel, CA, on April 20, 1931, he moved with his family to Spring Creek Road in Washington, IL. He attended Spalding Institute and Washington Community High School. Jim joined the Navy at the age of 17 and served four years on the newly commissioned USS Roanoke CL 145 from 1948-1952. During his Navy service, he traveled much of the world sailing the Caribbean, Mediterranean, and Atlantic oceans. He joined the “Blue Nose” club when his ship also traveled into the Arctic Circle.
Upon an honorable discharge from the Navy, Jim embarked on a long career with Illinois Bell as a telephone engineer from 1953-1985. In 1955, he married the love of his life, Mary Ann Marsicek, and they had 60 happy years together while raising six children.
Jim’s passion in life was adventure through travel. His travels did not stop after he left the Navy. As a young husband and father he made sure his family saw the United States. Yearly trips to visit Upper Michigan and a couple of cross country trips with his wife and six kids packed into a station wagon kept his sense of adventure alive. As soon as Jim started on a new trip, he was planning the next one. In retirement, he cruised Alaska with his wife, Mary; vacationed frequently in any state near an ocean; and sailed the coast of New Zealand with his daughter, Julie and brother, Mike.
His life was also filled with charity toward others. Whether stopping to help every stranded motorist he came upon, working tirelessly for the Easter Seals Telethon for many years, or offering guidance and support to his children and grandchildren with every crisis that came their way, Jim was always willing to lend a helping hand.
Jim leaves behind many beloved nieces and nephews, family members, and friends who will miss his generous, caring, and fun spirit. We will all miss his love and warmth.
Funeral Mass will be celebrated Saturday, November 17, 2018 at 11 a.m. at St. Patrick’s Church in Washington, IL. Visitation will be held Friday, November 16, 2018 from 5-7 p.m. at Deiters Funeral Home and Crematory in Washington, IL. An additional visitation will be held at 10 am before the mass at the church. A burial with military honors will immediately follow mass at Glendale Cemetery in Washington.
Memorials may be made to the Greater Peoria Honor Flight or the Heart of Illinois Down Syndrome Society. Jim’s memorial website is available at www.deitersfuneralhome.com where condolences may also be sent to the family.