During the early morning hours of September 9, 2021, CDR Henry “Hank” Edward Otten USN (Ret.) of Coronado, passed away after a 20-year battle with Parkinson’s Disease.
Born Oct. 25, 1927, in Brooklyn, New York, to Henry L. and Marie Otten, who were both the children of German Immigrants. Hank grew up in the shadow of Ebbits Field, home of the Brooklyn Dodgers where he was a “knot hole kid.” He attended Brooklyn Technical High School. While in High School he discovered his love of aviation and learned to fly at a nearby airport.
After high school, Hank applied and was accepted to join the Navy as a “Flying Midshipman”. After two years at Duke University he moved to Pensacola for pre-flight training and flight school where he earned his “Wings of Gold.”
Upon graduating from Flight School his first duty station was at Patuxent River NAS where he joined the transport squadron flying the Secretary of the Navy, Congressmen, Senators, and other VIP’s. He also traveled around the world delivering supplies to various naval installations. During the end of the Korean War he flew reconnaissance missions over the Korean peninsula. Later he was assigned to Anti-Submarine Patrol Squadrons.
Hank was deployed twice aboard Navy seaplane tenders, the USS Gardiners Bay, then to Vietnam aboard the USS Currituck. After returning to the States aboard the USS Currituck, he was assigned as the Naval Attaché at the U.S. Embassy in Seoul South Korea (1967 to 1969). He was sent to the Defense Language School in Monterey where he learned to speak Korean fluently.
After Korea he was assigned to the Pentagon where he retired in 1974.
Hank’s retirement years were filled with lots of activity. His love of aviation was handed down to his older son and now one of his grandsons. Hank also became a tow pilot and instructor at a Northern Virginia glider school.
Music was also a great love. He volunteered to help at his children’s high school with the music program. Two of his three children also had a passion for music and his help was greatly appreciated. After their children graduated college, he and his wife Donna moved back to Coronado to the house they purchased in 1961.
He was a lifelong Episcopalian and member of Christ Episcopal Church Coronado serving multiple terms on the Vestry and for many years as the treasurer.
After moving back to Coronado he volunteered at the Church Day School working toward starting a music program there. He regularly volunteered with the music program at a local Elementary school teaching the students how to play brass instruments.
Hank was preceded in death by his younger brother Richard Otten (2019)
Hank is survived by his wife of nearly 66 years Donna Bolen Otten; his three children, Robert (Laura) Otten, Susan (Richard) Quasarano, and John (Tamara) Otten; his five grandchildren, Samantha and Ryan Quasarano, and Joshua, Danny and Tammy Otten; and his older sister Elizabeth Otten.
Prayers for Henry will be given at the Oct. 10, 2021, 10 a.m. Eucharist Service at Christ Episcopal Church, 900 C Avenue, Coronado. Memorial donations may be given to the Parkinson’s Association of San Diego.