Captain Robert Anthony Otto (1938-2022)


Bob was born July 7, 1938 in Cincinnati to WCPO news director and newspaperman Robert Lawrence Otto and Jane Patricia (Hoban) Otto of Northside. He attended St. Patrick’s Catholic and Little Flower grade schools. He took classical classes at St. Xavier High School where he was an honor student, participated in a number of clubs, and competed in football and track. He graduated in 1956. He then attended Xavier University as an R.O.T.C. member earning a bachelor’s degree.

While attending college, Bob was a drill instructor at Covington Latin School and taught at Our Lady of the Rosary School in Greenhills.

Bob enlisted in the United States Marine Corps in July 1960. During January 1961, he was awarded the American Spirit of Honor Medal as the outstanding member of his platoon during basic training at Parris Island. He shipped out to Italy and before he was on base 48 hours, he met Queen Elizabeth and Prince Phillip of England. On August 3, 1961, Private First Class Otto was named orderly to the commander-in-chief of Allied Forces in Southern Europe, Admiral Charles R. Brown. By November, he was promoted to Lance Corporal. During August 1962, he was promoted to Corporal. During July 1963, when President John F. Kennedy toured Italy and required a Marine escort, Corporal Otto was selected.

Upon his return home, he and his family settled in Colerain Township. In March 1968 he was added to the staff of the University of Cincinnati’s director of communications. In December 1968, Cincinnati Mayor Reuhlman named him to the 32-man task force to plan rehabilitation of Avondale after the Cincinnati riots. In January 1970, he was named to a patient relations position at Cincinnati General Hospital and later the Emergency Room director. During 1973, he took a public relations position at St. Xavier High School.

By 1978, Bob joined the Woodlawn Police Department as a police officer. In 1980, he was working as a police officer in the Colerain Township Police Department. By August 1983, he was promoted to Sergeant. He also worked for a short time with the Hamilton County Sheriff’s Office.

In 1985, Sergeant Otto joined the Warren County Sheriff’s Office. He served three years as the County Jail Warden and, by July 1994, Lieutenant Otto was serving as a Watch Commander and Training Officer. He retired as a Captain in 1996.

Still not finished in his life’s work, from 1996 to 1999, Captain Otto worked for the Ohio Attorney General at the Ohio Police Officer Training Commission. Then, for eight years, he taught high school students at the Warren County Career Center. Finally, from 2008 to 2021, he commanded the  Butler Tech Law Enforcement Institute. He finally retired after 55 years of service to the country and community.

With his wife at his side, Captain Otto died on June 28, 2022, nine days short of his 84th birthday.

Captain Otto is survived by his wife of 32 years, Debra A. (Donahey) Otto; children, Robert Lawrence Otto, Marguerite Theresa Jane Turco, Nicole Marie Holland, Jason Abe Otto, and Rachel Elizabeth Otto; and grandchildren, Alexander Vincenzo Turco, Faith Elizabeth Turco, Lauren Paige Lengel, Sasha Jade Scholnick, and Harrison Drew Motsumoto Otto.

Memorials may be made in the name of “Sergeant Robert Otto” at the Heritage Center.

A celebration of life will be held at a later date.


© 2022 – All rights reserved to LT Stephen R. Kramer RET and the Greater Cincinnati Police Museum




Leave a Comment