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Joan Phyllis Averill Otte

October 20, 1928 February 15, 2018
Joan Phyllis Averill Otte
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Obituary for Joan Phyllis Averill Otte

"He determines the number of the stars and calls each of them by name. "Ps. 147:4

Joan Phyllis Averill Otte was peacefully called home February 15, 2018. She was blessed with 89 wonderful years. Joan was born October 20, 1928 in Portland, Oregon to Archie and Muriel Averill. She grew up in Jennings Lodge and Oregon City. Joan attended Reed College and then transferred to Oregon State University and the University of Oregon Medical School where she graduated with her RN Nursing and Bachelor of Science degrees. While at OSU, Joan met the love of her life, George Otte. They were married June 30, 1951 and lived a fulfilling life together for 49 years until George passed away from ALS in 2000. Their careers led them to The Dalles, Oregon and Lanai City, Hawaii. They eventually settled back in McMinnville, Oregon to raise their three children, Tom, Terry and Nancy. In 1976, Riitta, a Finnish exchange student joined the family. Later they moved to Casper, Wyoming and then retired in McMinnville where they built their dream home.

In the 1950s, Joan became a long-time member of the Junior Matrons and American Association of University Women. She was very active in her church, especially as a Youth Leader. She was a Red Cross nurse and teacher, and for many years a Girl Scout Camp and Day Camp nurse as well as a Girl Scout and Cub Scout leader. Joan loved nature, camping, backpacking and mountaineering. She was a member of the Mazama mountaineering club where she climbed several major peaks in Oregon and Washington. Joan also enjoyed downhill skiing. Joan loved sewing and gardening. She tailored and sewed most of the family's clothes as well as designing and sewing backpacking tents, down coats, sleeping bags and a sail for a sailboat George built. At the time of her passing, Joan was still sewing quilt tops for her church's mission outreach. After a 30-year nursing career, Joan learned to weave on a floor loom and wove complicated sample cards for an international weaver's business. First in 1975 and then again in 1980, George and Joan started second careers in the Coast Guard Auxiliary. In 1999 and 2000, Joan was elected Commander of Flotilla 66. She was a qualified instructor and taught member training and Water Safety classes for 3rd and 5th graders. Joan also became an AUXOP and Crew Member. Summers were filled with regattas and safety patrols on rivers, lakes and off-shore. Joan retired from the Auxiliary in November 2017 after 42 years of dedicated service.

Joan and George travelled throughout the United States, Europe, Scandinavia and Estonia to visit family and historical family sites working on genealogy.

Joan is survived by her brother Jim (Katie), sister-in-law Lee and brother-in-law Ed. Children, Tom (Marti), Terry (Kathie), and Nancy (Dave); Finnish daughter, Riitta (Ray); six grandchiIdren; five step grandchiIdren; 15 great-grandchildren; and five nieces.

A memorial service will be held March 3, 2018, 11:00 am at Zion Lutheran Church in Newberg, Oregon. In lieu of flowers, remembrance donations may be made through Zion Church to the George Otte Scholarship fund that supports students who plan to attend college.
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