Raymond Otto (1928-2019)

Dentist enjoyed family, outdoors.

By Brooks Sutherland / The Blade
Mon, 02 Dec 2019 05:00:00 GMT

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Raymond Otto, a longtime Toledo dentist who spent his life serving patients, traveling the world, and enjoying the outdoors, died Friday, Nov. 15, at The Grove at Oakleaf Village. He was 91.

He had Parkinson’s disease and dementia, his wife, Sheila Otto, said. The couple first met in 1956 when Mr. Otto was a volunteer waiter at an event at Chatham College in Pittsburgh, the school Mrs. Otto attended.

“He approached me because I was the only woman who wasn’t smoking at the table,” she recalls. “He said that’s why he asked me out.”

After graduating from Temple University in Philadelphia and serving as a first lieutenant in the Army during the Korean War, Mr. Otto enrolled in dental school at the University of Pittsburgh.

In July of 1958, Mr. Otto moved to Toledo to practice dentistry at the Dental Dispensary. He married Mrs. Otto in August, 1958, and she joined him in Lucas County, where they remained for 61 years.

Mrs. Otto said her husband was lighthearted and loved “serving his patients.” In 1979, he and Bob Weisenburger formed their own practice, Dental Group West, which still exists. Mr. Otto taught for 16 years at the Medical College of Ohio.

Mr. and Mrs Otto were passionate about their faith and serving others. The couple often hosted foreign students and families and established a marriage encounter movement locally, where they teamed up with a priest and other couples to work together in re-discovering communication in marriages. Mrs. Otto said she’s most proud of the program they spearheaded that helped couples. She admired her late husband’s calm attitude toward life.

“Throughout the various struggles of life, he always kept his calm,” she said. “It was quite extraordinary.”

Mr. Otto was born in Hillsville, Pa., on July 24, 1928.

He was an avid outdoorsman with a passion for hunting. He shared his love of nature with his five children and six grandchildren. His son Gregg Otto said his father hunted until he was 85.

“When I was a kid, we would go fishing on Lake Erie,” said Gregg Otto. “Those were some of the most fun moments out there on the boat with him.”

Mr. Otto’s daughter Cindy Otto said her father was strict growing up, but she said she believes it was because he wanted to get the best out of people.

“He was very very passionate about everything he believed in,” she said. “He believed in giving because he felt like a lot was given to him. ... Teaching was something that was always important to him.”

Added daughter Chrissa Michelle: “He had an openness to people. He had friendships that span generations and with people from all walks of life. He just always attracted people and wanted to do things to make them better.”

Surviving are his wife, Sheila; daughters Chrissa Michelle, Cindy Otto, and BA Laris; sons Dennis and Gregg Otto; and six grandchildren.

Mr. Otto donated his body to University of Toledo Medical Center, the former Medical College of Ohio Hospital.

A gathering to celebrate the life of Mr. Otto will be held at Corpus Christi University Parish in Toledo on Jan. 11 at 11 a.m.