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Robert Michael Otten

Robert Michael Otten passed away on April 19 at Inova Fairfax Hospital after a long illness. He was born in 1945 in Mineola, New York to the late Theodore and Mary Otten. He was a graduate of Chaminade High School in Mineola, NY, received his Bachelor’s Degree from St. John’s University, and his PhD. In English literature from the University of Notre Dame. He began his 53-year teaching and administrative career at La Lumiere School in Indiana, where he was proud to have taught Chief Justice John Roberts freshman English. He also taught and served as an administrator at Saint Anselm College in NH, Indiana University Fort Wayne, Assumption College in Ma., Indiana University Kokomo, and Marymount University in Arlington.

He loved teaching, counseling students, coaching students who had academic difficulties, pioneering distance learning, tutoring high school students on college essay writing, and always encouraging students and colleagues with an optimism he carried throughout his life. He became a local Harry Potter expert for Washington media when his academic interests turned to children’s literature. Although retired from full-time teaching, he continued to teach some courses and independent studies until last year.

An avid Red Sox fan, he enjoyed coaching son Alex’s Greater Manassas Baseball League teams, and watching baseball and UConn women’s basketball games. In later years he found his spiritual home when attending Mass at the Benedictine Monastery in Bristow.

He is survived by Lisa Sievel-Otten of Manassas, his wife of 38 years; son Liam (Carolyn) of University City, Mo.; daughter Rachel George (Jason) of Wilmington, NC; son Tim (Aida) of San Francisco, Ca. and their mother Elizabeth Delmonico (Neal); daughter Lindsay Meretten (Alex) of Reston; son Alex of Madrid, Spain; two granddaughters and two grandsons; brother Ted (Michael) of Yardley, Pa.; sister Christine Greco (Al) of St. Augustine, Fl.; sister Kathryn Aldrich of St. Augustine, Fl; and beloved brothers-in-law, sister-in-law, and nieces and nephew.

Visitation at Olde Town Funeral Home, 9320 West St., will be on Thursday, April 27 from 4:00 to 6:00 p.m. A celebration of life will be held on Friday, April 28 at 11:00 a.m. at Saint Benedict Monastery, 9535 Linton Hall Road, Bristow, VA 20136 with internment at the Place of Peace Columbarium and reception to follow.

Memorial contributions may be made to BEACON Adult Literacy, 9535 Linton Hall Road, Bristow, VA 20136.



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17 Responses

  1. Lisa,
    My thoughts and prayers are with you and the kids. I’m sorry I can’t be with you.

  2. Lisa,
    We are so sorry for your loss. Sending hugs, thoughts and prayers to you and your family. Xo

  3. What a beautiful life! Truly lived for God. Sending prayers for the family. Thinking of you, Lisa and Alex. Love, Norma Coto

  4. Bob’s wit and erudition combined to make him respected professor and colleague. RIP, Bob.

  5. Bob and my husband were colleagues at Marymount, and Sean always spoke of him with warmth and respect. I am very sorry for your loss.

  6. I was one of Dr. Otten’s adult students at Marymount University.
    Although I had completed nearly all requirements for my undergraduate degree in Music Education at the University of Georgia 20+ years before, my academic advisor at Marymount, Alice Davis, suggested a much better program at Marymount whereby I could use roughly the same amount of time to complete a BA in Liberal Studies, then go on to the University of Virginia for an MS in the Management of Information Technology that would be directly applicable to my career goals. Once I demonstrated my sincerity and determination, Dr. Otten took an interest in my progress and took an active hand in helping me surmount all obstacles to my success. Even though I had lost 20 years’ educational opportunity after a rough divorce, Alice and Dr. Otten helped me follow through, earning my MS/MIT from UVA, and raising the quality of my life throughout the rest of my working career.
    Not only was my life improved, indirectly my son also reaped great benefit, as my new earning capability allowed me to help him attend Randolph Macon military academy and go on to earn a bachelor’s degree from Johnson & Wales University in Providence, RI.
    I was certainly not the only person Dr. Otten helped. I know he helped many others succeed and enriched our lives in many ways.

  7. I am deeply saddened to hear about the loss of Dr. Otten.
    I was one of his student at Marymount University, and Dr. Otten truly cared about his students. He was an amazing professor who always motivated me to give my best. He always made the classroom brighter with his knowledge and wisdom. My deepest and most sincere condolences.

  8. His heart was always about the best interest of the students. May his memory be a blessing.

  9. I am saddened to hear of Bob’s passing. He and I were colleagues at Marymount and I have only warm, positive memories of him. His quiet wit made me smile, and his commitment to Marymount and his students was always evident.

  10. I was one of the last students he had mentored. Dr. Otten helped me write my children’s book and contributed in so many ways. I am so sorry to hear of his passing and will keep his family in mind.

  11. I was a colleague with Bob at Marymount. He was always so gracious and kind. He had the students’ best interest in the forefront of all that he did. I know he is responsible for many success stories at Marymount! He was a good man….may he rest in peace. Prayers and condolences to the family.

  12. My deepest condolences to you, Lisa, and your whole family. May your memories of Bob bring you comfort in the days to come. God bless you.

  13. I was an English professor at Marymount, and my office was next to Bob’s. He was one of my favorite people. He was so thorough and professional and smart, but he was also kind, which made him a great Academic Integrity coordinator. He was empathetic and supportive of younger people — colleagues, students, and little ones. I loved him, and I was so lucky to have an office next to him and listen to him greeting the students who came to his office to discuss children’s literature and to serve as the Academic Integrity chair when he was the Academic Integrity director. Bob was the best.

  14. I was a student at Marymount University, while Dr. Otten was there. I never had him as a professor, but he became a mentor and friend to me. He always checked on how I was doing each semester, with school and in life, even though I was never his advisee or student. He was a kind and thoughtful person, who wished the best for everyone. He will be dearly missed. My condolences to the Otten families.

  15. I met Bob my first semester at Marymount, when he was Chair of the Academic Integrity Committee. He was kind toward a new faculty member learning the ropes, and compassionate in his dealings with students. He was the best of Marymount.

  16. I worked with Bob at Marymount University for many years, he was one of the kindest colleagues I had always rooting for the students and their success. May his kind soul rest in peace and may his family and friends find comfort in all the good he did in his life.

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