Bill Otto

Bill Otto

Family and friends often referred to William “Bill” Otto as “The Man of Los Altos.”

“He lived in Los Altos for so long, and he knew everyone and everything,” said his brother Matt. “If you wanted to know what was going on in Los Altos, he was the guy.”

A community-minded man with a big heart, Mr. Otto died unexpectedly Aug. 1. He was 59.

Mr. Otto was born in Palo Alto and moved to Los Altos in 1965. He attended Bullis-Purissima Elementary, Covington Junior High and Los Altos High. He graduated from Chico State University with a degree in business administration. He was a realtor with Compass Real Estate in Los Altos.

His longtime involvement in the Palo Alto Elks Lodge served as a launching pad for his community service activities. At the Elks Lodge, he served as lodge chaplain, trustee, chairman of the board and director of the pool. As a club member and leader, Mr. Otto, social by nature, was in his element.

While other family members left the area, Mr. Otto stayed, his love of community reflected in his faithful attendance at annual events such as the Kiwanis Pet Parade and the Festival Lights Parade.

“Bill seemed to always participate in all of Los Altos’ events,” Matt recalled. “I remember Bill, grade-school age, with our mother, walking a dog/chicken, etc., in the Los Altos pet parade. … He truly was happy in Los Altos.”

Mr. Otto also was an avid bike rider and downhill skier. He loved sports, particularly the San Francisco Giants and 49ers.

Mr. Otto’s life was filled with “many, many friends,” according to Matt.

“He was a good listener, always asked how you were doing,” he said of his brother. “Bill was very supportive of his many friends’ kids. He kept in contact with them and encouraged them to succeed.”

In addition to Matt and his wife, Sue, Mr. Otto is survived by brothers David (wife Donna Lisa), Cronan (partner Maggie) and Paul (wife Terrilynn).

A celebration of life is scheduled Aug. 28 at the Palo Alto Elks Club.

Donations in Mr. Otto’s name may be made to the Bill Otto Memorial Youth Sports Fund at