Obituary: Lt. Col. Harvey L. Ottinger (Ret.), 1929-2021 | Obituaries | Seven Days | Vermont's Independent Voice

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Obituary: Lt. Col. Harvey L. Ottinger (Ret.), 1929-2021

Military veteran competed in Senior Olympics at age 90

Published February 24, 2021 at 6:00 a.m.
Updated February 24, 2021 at 12:52 p.m.

Lt. Col. Harvey L. Ottinger (Ret.) - COURTESY PHOTO
  • Courtesy Photo
  • Lt. Col. Harvey L. Ottinger (Ret.)

It is with great sadness that the family of longtime Shelburne, Vt., resident Harvey L. Ottinger announces his passing on February 20, 2021. He died peaceably at the Arbors in Shelburne at the age of 91. At his side was his bride of 67 years, Kathryn “Kay” Ottinger.

Harvey will be lovingly remembered by his wife, Kathryn “Kay” Ottinger; children Debra Petersen (Tommy), Harvey Ottinger, Matthew Ottinger (Margaret), Jean Golightly (Gary), Judy Gover (David), Mary Ottinger (Pete) and Sarah Misiak (Brian); 12 wonderful grandchildren; and five great-grandchildren.

Harvey was born on March 25, 1929, in Granite City, Ill., to Harvey and Thelma Ottinger. He was the second born (preceded in death by his three siblings, Marjorie, Doris and Robert). He had a passion for learning and adventure and served 30 honorable years in the U.S. military. He enlisted in the U.S. Army in 1947 after his high school graduation at the age of 18 and served two years. Striving for more, he then used his G.I. Bill to go to college and earn his degree and entered the U.S. Air Force as a second lieutenant. He bravely served in both Korea and Vietnam and was noted as one of the Air Force’s best electronic warfare officers in the B-57. In 1981, Harvey retired as a lieutenant colonel with numerous awards and medals.

After his military retirement, he also worked for General Electric and IBM. Harvey had a lifelong passion for athletic competition. He loved to play golf, basketball, volleyball and Ping-Pong but was best noted for his achievements in racquetball. He was a member of the YMCA throughout most of his life and a member of the EDGE Sports & Fitness, where he had many dear friends. He also competed in several Senior Olympics in racquetball and running, the last time at the age of 90. He will miss his 30-year, twice-monthly poker games with his friends.

Harvey loved to travel and, through the military, saw much of the world. His lifelong journey of learning and reading books, newspapers and higher education textbooks led him to many happy hours spent in the library. Harvey will always be known and loved for his humble spirit.

The family would like to thank all of his caregivers, the University of Vermont Hospice and everyone at the Arbors.

Arrangements are in care of the Cremation Society of Chittenden County. To send online condolences to his family, please visit

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