Virginia Lettice (Ginny) Otto passed away on Dec. 27, 2019, in Lynnwood, Washington, from complications of pulmonary fibrosis. She was 90 years old.
Virginia was born in Sao Paulo, Brazil, on June 10, 1929, to Walter Mansfield “Pat” Williams and Marjorie Wiggin. Her brother, Mansfield (Smoky), was 8 years older.
Virginia majored in Latin American studies at Smith College and later worked in a travel agency in New York. She married Theodore Charles (Ted) Otto on Dec. 15, 1951. They made their home and raised their four children — Mark, David, Janet and Bruce — in Concord, California, and later in Corona del Mar, California. Virginia loved books and stories and after time at home with her children, she returned to school and studied at Long Beach State University where she received certificates in teaching and librarianship. She worked for the Newport-Mesa School District library program where she successfully set up the first multimedia center in an elementary school library in California and delighted students with her storytelling, library skills classes and book talks.
In 1986, Ted and Virginia retired and moved to Friday Harbor, where they built their own home on Garry Oak Lane on the edge of the San Juan Golf Course. They dearly loved island life, the community, and their many friends. Ginny volunteered in the Friday Harbor Elementary School library, where she gave book talks and supported the library program. Her rich life included: golf; bridge; knitting; needlepoint; exercise classes; exploring San Juan Island; helping at the San Juan County Fair; and involvement in the community. Children and grandchildren looked forward to visiting and spent many happy hours exploring the island with her and Ted. An active member of the Presbyterian Church, she had a strong faith in God which guided her throughout her life.
Virginia took care of Ted at home until he passed in 2007 from complications of Alzheimer’s disease. They were married for 55 years. Living alone for the first time, she continued her active life. As a board member of the Mullis Community Senior Center, she helped publish a coupon book that supported the Senior Center and businesses all over San Juan Island. She enthusiastically promoted the coupon book to one and all.
Since 2016, Virginia had been living with her daughter Janet and grandson Odin in Lynnwood, Washington. Virginia was faithful to her family, kind, hard-working, loving and determined until the end.
A memorial service and celebration of her life will be held at 2 p.m. on May 9, 2020, at the San Juan County Cemetery District Chapel, 311 Madden Lane, Friday Harbor. Donations in Virginia’s memory may be made to the Animal Protection Society – Friday Harbor or the Mullis Community Senior Center.