Obituary of William James Ott Jr.
William J. Ott, of Austin, TX passed away March 18, 2020 at the age of 93. Bill was a Navy veteran of WWII, a hard-working member of the auto industry, a beloved husband, father, grandfather, and great-grandfather.
Bill was born in Cuero, Tx on April 30, 1926 to Annie and William Ott. His paternal ancestors had come to Texas from the Alsace region of Europe in 1858; his grandfather settled in Cuero and ran a saloon there. Bill moved with his parents and younger brother and sister to Austin, and then to Waco.
Bill graduated from high school in Waco and immediately entered the war effort by serving in the Navy in the Pacific. Bill was part of a sea rescue squad in the Kwajalein Atoll. He and his crewmates saved many a pilot whose damaged aircraft could not make it back to base. One of his favorite stories was of keeping the sharks away from the downed airmen with his boat’s guns.
After being discharged, Bill worked in the television industry at KFI-NBC in Los Angeles. It was at that studio that he met Dottie, the love of his life, who he married in 1952. They spent the next 64 years devoted to each other until her death in 2016.
In 1953, Bill persuaded Dottie to move from California back to his beloved home state of Texas. Bill soon found a job with GMAC. He held various positions in several cities as he advanced in his career and started a family. Bill retired from GMAC after 30 years of dedicated service.
Bill’s personality was just as large as his stature. He was continually making friends in parking lots, waiting rooms, and checkout lines with a big smile and lively banter. He was always a happy, positive person who enjoyed singing and whistling tunes wherever he was – sometimes to the embarrassment of his young daughters. To his children, many nieces and nephews, and later to his grandchildren, he was a great entertainer. He built forts and obstacle courses for them in his backyard, he created games for them to play, and he made up adventure stories to regale them with. The grandchildren were always eager to spend the night and hear the latest installment of the exploits of “Mr. Magic”.
Bill was also an artist, although he never thought of himself as such. He had a small wood-working shop in his garage where he delighted in making things. He learned knot tying in the Navy and created beautiful macramé hangings. His whimsical birdhouses are treasured by the family members who received them. His creative ability to take ordinary objects from nature and combine them into pleasing “sculptures” was truly amazing.
Bill was preceded in death by his loving wife of 64 years, Dorothy Ott; parents, Annie and William James Ott Sr.; and grandson, Matthew. He is survived and sorely missed by his children, Cynthia (David) and Patricia (Mike); grandchildren, John, Rebecca, Rachel, Ryan, and Amanda; 4 great grandchildren; and siblings, Bernard Ott and Ann Mary Hendrix. William is also survived by numerous other loving family and friends.
In lieu of flowers, the family asks you make a donation to the NATIONAL MUSEUM OF THE PACIFIC WAR www.pacificwarmuseum.org (where his oral history solicited by the museum is kept) or to the charity of your choice.
Due to the latest Coronavirus Restrictions, implemented on March 17, 2020 by the City of Austin and Travis County, Recitation of the Holy Rosary, Mass of Christian Burial, and Interment will be private.
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