Joan V. Otto

Jan. 6, 1932 - Sept. 13, 2018
Joan V. Otto,  Jan. 6, 1932 - Sept. 13, 2018

Joan V. Otto of Jupiter, Fla., died on Sept. 13 at home there. She was 86 and had been in good health until about six months ago.

After meeting Robert E. Otto on a blind date in New Jersey and marrying him in June 1958, she moved with him to East Hampton, where she enjoyed clamming and making chowder, both Bonac and New England, as well as baked clams. Cooking was her “quiet time,” said her daughter Mary Kampf.

Back in New Jersey before she was married, Ms. Kampf said, her mother and four aunts would often cook together, singing as they did. All of them belonged then to the Sweet Adelines, the worldwide organization of women singers, and when Mrs. Otto moved here she joined the Sag Harbor branch. She remained very close to her siblings, thinking nothing of packing up her five children and driving to New Jersey for the weekend to see them.

Mrs. Otto was also a “talented and brilliant seamstress,” Ms. Kampf said, who made all her own clothes as a girl and made her five children their Easter outfits every year. She designed and sewed her daughter’s wedding gown, which, said Ms. Kampf, survived the years in such beautiful shape that her own daughter wore it when she was married.

Joan Veronica Otto was born in Jersey City, N.J., on Jan. 6, 1932, one of seven children of Luke O’Malley and the former Catherine Hoffman. She grew up in Rutherford, N.J., graduating from St. Mary’s High School there. Right after graduation, she took a job as a secretary in the automobile industry, working in the Chrysler Building, which was designed and named for the car manufacturer, in Midtown Manhattan.

Five of Mrs. Otto’s siblings, 

Betty Keating, Jean Hardiman, Anne Schindler, Cathy O’Brien, and Robert O’Malley died before her. Her last surviving brother, the Rev. William O’Malley, who had just been to visit her, died within hours of her own death.

Her husband survives, as do their children, who are, in addition to Ms. Kampf and Lawrence Otto, both of East Hampton, James Otto of Springs, Robert Otto Jr. of Water Mill, and Barbara Vaccarelli of Connecticut. She leaves 13 grandchildren and 6 great-grandchildren.

The Ottos began spending winters in Florida in 1984 and moved there year round in 1990. Mrs. Otto joined St. Jude Catholic Church in Jupiter, which held a memorial service for her on Sept. 15. She was cremated.

On Nov. 24 at 11 a.m., the Rev. Ryan Creamer will say funeral Masses at Most Holy Trinity Catholic Church in East Hampton and graveside in the church cemetery, where her ashes will be buried. At 1 p.m. the family will host a reception at the Bridgehampton Presbyterian Church hall, 2429 Montauk Highway.