William Thomas Ott, beloved husband, father, brother, brother in law, grandfather and great-grandfather, passed away unexpectedly but peacefully at his home in Apache Junction AZ on the morning of June 8, 2020.
This is the story of a life well lived, loved and respected.
Dad was born on March 21, 1943 at Fort Lewis in Washington State, to William Frederick Ott and Margaret Laura Tucker (both deceased). He had one full sister, Polly Walden (deceased), two half-sisters, Carrie Dane and Robin Ott, and half-brother Stuart Ott.
Dad married the love of his life, Ann Richardine Stottler, on June 25, 1961, and she survives. There are 3 of us kids, Tracy Garde from Pittsburgh PA, Rich Ott (wife Anita) from Jacksonville, IL and Michael Ott, Apache Junction AZ. There are 4 grandchildren, Jacob and Joe Garde and Catherine and Geoffrey Ott and one great granddaughter, Eva Garde. He has many sister and brother in laws, nieces and nephews who he has always remained close to.
Dad lived his life by prioritizing God, then family and country. He was fiercely loyal to his country and believed you kneel for the cross and stand for the flag. We learned from dad by his example, that you find something in life to be passionate about and then stand by that belief and back it up, but to choose wisely as your actions speak volumes over your words. He showed us how to stand by your word and to base your morals and ethics on the things you do when no one is looking. Dad was adamant that every person deserved your respect and that kindness went a long way towards a peaceful world. He enjoyed attending mass, loved the Heavenly Father and lived his faith.
Dad’s wood working skills produced cradles, rocking horses, play houses, doll houses and cabinets that his family, grandchildren and great grandchildren still use today. Whenever we needed something made or repaired, dad could figure it out. He and mom remodeled our childhood home and built several additions to it as our family expanded.
Dad’s calling was to serve a lifetime in law enforcement, where he was widely respected and highly regarded as an enforcer of the law and as a mentor. He served the public in Pinal County, Superior, Mammoth and San Manuel, all in AZ. He served as Chief of police in Jerome Illinois for 32 years. Friends and family loved to hear him tell stories from the old days in law enforcement. Everything from riding a horse through the dessert tracking down a suspect to his efforts as a volunteer cold case homicide detective at the Apache Junction Police Department.
Dad’s greatest joy was his family. His love for his children and grandchildren took second only to the love he had for his wife and the Lord. He loved to brag about his grandchildren and would tell anyone who would listen how amazing and special each one was and why. He thought the sun rose and set around his great granddaughter.
Dad retired in the late 90’s and he and mom bought an RV and traveled the country. He realized his dream of traveling through Alaska and continued to talk about how special that trip was up until his death.
In lieu of flowers, we ask that you honor dad by thanking the police officers you meet for their service, and buying the meal of the veteran having dinner at the next table. That you respect all creatures great and small, show the person standing beside you kindness and tell your family that you love them.