Otto John Drescher passed away Friday, March 18, in Newville, Pennsylvania, after a long and happy life.
Otto was born April 14, 1929, in Dayton, Ohio, the second son of Joseph Coleman and Elsa (Elsie) Lang Drescher. As the son of poor Hungarian immigrants, he attended a co-op high school, Parker Vocational School, where he learned hands-on skills in carpentry and other trades and ran on the cross country team. Following graduation from high school in 1946, Otto enlisted in the Army, joining the 504th Regiment of the 82nd Airborne Division. After being honorably discharged, the GI Bill made it possible for him to enroll in college, earning a bachelor’s degree in Chemical Engineering from the University of Dayton in 1952. He continued to run in college, earning a varsity letter.
While in college, he met his future wife, Dottie Gould, on a blind date. They married on November 20, 1951. After a few moves around the country, they settled down in St. Albans, West Virginia, where they raised their three children and lived for the next six decades. Otto worked for Monsanto, officially as a corrosion engineer and unofficially as the self-dubbed poet laureate, writing and reciting humorous poems for his retiring colleagues. After a thirty-three-year career, Otto himself retired in the 1980s and immediately became busier than ever. He hand-built a two-car garage, continued running recreationally, and spent time with his grandchildren. He also began consulting with C.P. Dillon and Associates and in 2006 was honored with a Distinguished Service Award from the National Association of Corrosion Engineers.
Otto and Dottie loved to travel. In his own words, “We live in a truly beautiful and diverse country. Everyone should be lucky enough to see as much of it as possible.” They took many trips within the United States, and traveled internationally with the Friendship Force, visiting the United Kingdom, Scotland, Canada, and Australia. They served as hosts for Friendship Force travelers from Brazil, Germany, and Japan, in addition to hosting an exchange student from Brazil for the 1975-76 school year. They also enjoyed cruises and brought the entire extended family along on a cruise to celebrate their 50th anniversary.
Otto was always involved in his community, spending time as president of the Little League, volunteering for Read Aloud, joining a bowling league, and playing bridge with various friends throughout the years. Since moving to Newville in 2021, he had volunteered to read for the residents of the Carriage House at Green Ridge Village. Otto had a truly remarkable aptitude for technology, staying up to date on computers, smart phones, and running a family e-newsletter well into his 80s. He enjoyed researching family history and not only found several lost relatives, but welcomed them back into the fold and developed a relationship with them.
Otto was a gentle giant, as striking for his tall stature and his booming voice as for his kind humor and sharp mind. He made friends everywhere he went and always loved spending time with his family. In 2021, he and Dottie celebrated an amazing 70 years of marriage. Although his presence will be missed, his legacy lives on.
Otto was preceded in death by his parents; his sisters Clara, Ruth, and Lula; and his daughter-in-law, Nancy. He is survived by his wife, Dottie; his son Bill and daughter-in-law Beth; his son Alan and daughter-in-law Lucretia; and his daughter Carol and son-in-law Steve; as well as his six grandchildren, Wendy (Randy), Abby (Matt), Chris (Abigail), Molly (Evan), Andrew (Maggie), and Matt (Anna); five great-grandchildren, Max, Paige, Fox, Annie, and Rowan; his brother, Leo Drescher; his sister, Betty Furlow; and many nieces and nephews.
A visitation will be held at 1 p.m. on Friday, March 25, at Highlawn Presbyterian Church, 2501 Washington Ave, St. Albans, WV, immediately followed by a memorial service at 2 p.m. In lieu of flowers, the family suggests donations to Read Aloud West Virginia, 1700 MacCorkle Ave. SE,
Room 179 Charleston, WV 2507 or Habitat for Humanity International, 322 West Lamar Street
Americus, Georgia 31709-3543
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