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Obituary (CA): Mrs. Gloria (Carl W. Otto '47)

Posted on 06/18/2018

Gloria Williams Otto  (1924 – 2018)

Gloria deEtte Williams Otto [Gloria W. Otto] died on Sunday, 10 June 2018 at 4:50pm after suffering from dementia for a number of years. She was 94 years old.

Gloria was born in Boise, Idaho on 12 January 1924, the first child of M. Ned Williams and Floribel Bergh Williams. Her family moved a lot while she was very young because of her father's work. They settled in Boise where Gloria completed elementary school, graduated in the first graduating class from the new Boise Junior High School, and then graduated with the first 3-year class from Boise High School in 1941. While in high school she was active in journalism and became editor of the Yearbook. It was also there that she met her future husband Carl, both of whom enjoying dancing.

After completing 2 years at Boise Junior College, Gloria continued her journalistic efforts and participated in volunteer work for service personnel at Gowen Field near Boise. During these years of living in Boise, Gloria's family invariably spent summers in Silver City, a place that became Gloria's Eden.

On 20 June 1946 Gloria married her high school sweetheart (and fiancée for 3 years while he attended the Naval Academy at Annapolis) Ensign Carl Otto at St. Michael's Cathedral in Boise. During her first year of marriage, while Carl was on sea duty, Gloria attended the all-female Barnard College in New York City and then attained her college degree at Russell Sage College in Troy, New York where Carl had matriculated for naval post-graduate studies. Gloria traveled with Carl as his naval duty stations changed.

In 1949, Gloria began teaching; that effort terminated after a couple years with the birth of her first child in 1951. Gloria became a full-time mother as her family grew.

In 1956, as civilians, Gloria and her family moved to Palo Alto, a location chosen because of the excellent educational facilities offered for young children. Three years later, the family moved to Hawaii where Gloria enjoyed learning hula dances and her children (now numbering 5) enjoyed the beaches and informal "Aloha" customs and dress. After 3 years 'in Paradise,' the family moved to Peru, where they lived for 5 years and learned Latin American customs, language, and dances.

Upon returning to California in 1967, the family purchased a property in Atherton that became their home for over 30 years. During that time Gloria volunteered service in the Children's Home Society, dedicated to raising funds and placing needy children and orphans in homes. Her responsibilities increased with time and she ultimately served as its President for much of the San Francisco Bay Area. During this time, she and the children spent most summers at the family cabin in Silver City, Idaho, times when she could relive her childhood memories and her children got to know their grandparents.

Gloria enjoyed traveling, maintaining family ties and learning family history, but going to a dance was always her top priority.

In 2001, Gloria moved into a senior retirement center named Channing House, located in Palo Alto. Carl joined her there later after the family home had been sold. Gloria organized and ran a diabetic support group while at Channing House.

Gloria is survived by: Carl Otto, her husband of almost 72 years; three daughters -- Carlin Otto and Gari Gene Otto of Palo Alto, California, and Ruth Otto Bingham (husband Tom) of Honolulu, Hawaii; one son, Warren Otto (wife Holly) of Encinitas, California; and one foster son, Barry Cunningham (wife Lee) of McGaheysville, Virginia. Her children provided six (6) grandchildren, all of whom survive her. Gloria was predeceased by her youngest son Van, her younger brother Marvin Dudley Williams, and all of her known first cousins.

Plans for a memorial service are pending. Her ashes will be scattered in Silver City, Idaho. In lieu of flowers, Gloria requested that donations be given to the Floribel Williams Memorial Scholarship in the School of Education at Boise State University (1-800-341-6150) or the Children's Home Society of California (

Published in Idaho Statesman on June 17, 2018