John C. Otto, 1948-2020
John C. Otto passed away peacefully Aug. 1 in Houston, after a courageous battle with pancreatic cancer.
John was born in Dayton, Texas, on Oct.14, 1948 to John Clifford Coffelt Otto and Susan Eugenia Forrest. John graduated from Dayton High School in 1966, where he was a pitcher on the baseball team, member of FFA, and was drum major for the DHS band. In the fall of 1966 John fulfilled his dream of marching in the Fightin’ Texas Aggie Band, where he made lifelong friends who still share a close bond today. John was head drum major of the Aggie band his senior year and graduated with a bachelor’s degree in accounting in May 1970. John was commissioned a 2nd Lieutenant in U.S. Army and served 8 years active and reserve duty. John worked for Peat, Marwick, Mitchell in Houston for 5 years, then returned to Dayton to open a private practice, serving clients for 35 years.
In December 1969 he married his high school sweetheart, Nancy Whitman. Together they raised sons Bryan, born in 1971, followed by Jason in 1974. John coached the boys’ baseball, cheered them on in football and tennis, and made sure they saw as much Aggie football as possible. John enjoyed Aggie sports and spent his free time outdoors bird hunting, fishing and golfing.
John served on the Dayton ISD Board of Trustees and Dayton City Council. In 2004, John was elected to the Texas House of Representatives, serving six terms before retiring at the end of his term in Jan 2017. He served as chairman of the House Appropriations Committee, vice chair Ways and Means, Legislative Budget Board and the Legislative Audit Committee. He loved serving in the Texas House and considered it a high honor and privilege to represent District 18.
In 2017, John and Nancy moved to Bryan-College Station, and John accepted a position as assistant vice chancellor and director of local government relations at The Texas A&M University System. He considered this his dream job, still working with colleagues in Austin and advocating for his beloved Texas A&M University and other schools and agencies in the TAMU System.
John and Nancy were active members of the First United Methodist Church in Dayton, where they both sang in the choir and John served in many capacities, including church treasurer for over 25 years. They recently transferred their membership to the A&M United Methodist Church.
John is preceded in death by his father, John Clifford Coffelt Otto; stepfather, Robert E. Fendley; and his brother, Calvin James Otto.
He is survived by his wife of 50 years, Nancy Whitman Otto; sons and daughters-in-law, Bryan and Lisa Otto, Jason and Brandee Otto; grandchildren, Brendon Olson, Maddie Olson, Hadley Otto, Bailee Otto, Emilee Otto, and Malloree Otto. Also surviving are his mother, Sue Otto Fendley; and siblings, Susan Harris and husband Wayne, Glenn Otto, Danita Otto Stovall and husband Bryan; aunts, uncles, cousins, nieces, nephews and special friends Dr. Robert and Susan Seaberg.
Friends are invited to a public visitation and service Thursday, Aug. 6, beginning at 1 p.m. at A&M United Methodist Church in College Station with the funeral service following at 2 p.m. Interment is set for 11 a.m. Friday, Aug. 7, at the Texas State Cemetery in Austin. Services are in the care of Callaway-Jones Funeral Home of Bryan College Station, Texas.
The family wishes to thank Dr. Robert Wolff and team, and the Palliative Care team at M.D. Anderson Cancer Center.
In lieu of flowers, donations can be made in John’s memory to the following:
First United Methodist Church, Dayton, Texas: app.clovergive.com/App/Giving/firstumcdayton.
A&M United Methodist Church: shelbygiving.com/app/giving/amumc.
Aggie ring scholarship fund: tx.ag/JohnOtto.
MD Anderson Cancer Center: gifts.mdanderson.org/Default.aspx.