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John C. Ott

January 27, 1943 May 14, 2020
John C. Ott
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Obituary for John C. Ott

Romans 8; 38-39 - For I am convinced that neither death nor life, neither angels nor demons, neither present nor the future , nor any powers, neither height nor depth, nor anything else in all creation, will be able to separate us from the love of God that is in Christ Jesus our Lord.

These are the words John C. Ott believed in and shared with many throughout his life. John passed away peacefully in his home on May 14, 2020, surrounded by his family and experiencing their love for him.

A Naperville resident since 1971, he was born in Decatur, Illinois January 27, 1943. He was a 1961 graduate of Eisenhower High School where he was active in student government, a member of the basketball and track teams, and always valued the friendships he made there.
John attended Millikin University where he met, and is survived by Marilyn (Swanson), his wife of 56 years. They were each other’s best friends and cherished their time together. They raised two daughters, Jennifer Penny (Jerimiah) and Michelle Peterson (Todd) in Naperville where they all reside today. He had an abounding love for his daughters and welcomed their husbands as his own sons.

John was the proud Papaw to grandchildren, Michael, Evan and Claire Peterson, and Madeleine and John Penny of Naperville, Chris Penny (Sarah) and Nikolis Penny of Indiana, and Kelsey Cole of Chicago. He was their biggest supporter by attending as many sporting, musical and school events as he could.

John began his career in sales with J.C. Penney in Decatur. He spent over 20 years as the Regional Sales Manager for Billy Goat Industries where he fostered many friendships through his relationships with his distributors and dealers.

John shared many stories about growing up in Decatur. He learned his love of fishing and the ability to fix just about anything from his dad, Robert J. Ott. His big, caring, loving heart came from his mother, Mildred (Hunt) who, along with his father brought him up with a deep faith and strong desire to serve God and his church. He was baptized and confirmed at First Lutheran in Decatur where he grew up singing in the youth choir and was active in Luther League. He went on to teach his love of God to his children and grandchildren.

John’s tall stature made him known to many as “Big John” and he is remembered for his big bear hugs. He could often be found at his church volunteering in some capacity. He served on the church council and as the high school youth leader for many years at St. Timothy Lutheran Church. Later, as a member of Our Saviour’s Lutheran Church, he was the assisting ministers leader, PADs volunteer, communion server, and usher. He made many close friends he considered brothers, as one of the leaders in Men’s Ministry, where he shared his faith and stories during men’s retreats, bible studies, and the monthly men’s breakfast. His influence on the faith journey of many of these men have been expressed in recent days.

John was the youngest of six children - Robert J. Ott, Jr. (Patricia), Barbara Milligan (Herbert), Nancy McKinney (Donald), and Charlene Johnson who are deceased. He is survived by his sister Phyllis Braden (Lynn) and brother-in-law William Johnson. Phyllis, who along with his sisters, loved doting on “baby John.” He was the loving “Uncle John” to many nieces and nephews.

Above all, John loved, was loved by, and was devoted to his family. His wife, children and grandchildren meant the world to him and he would drop whatever he was doing to help them or talk to them or just listen. He taught them the value of family and the importance of spending time together and living in the moment. He is deeply missed.

A private service will take place. Details will follow for a memorial service to be held at Our Saviour’s Lutheran Church when it is safe to gather again.

In lieu of flowers, memorials to Our Saviour's Lutheran Church, 815 S Washington St, Naperville, IL 60540 or Lutheran Outdoor Ministries Center, 1834 IL-2, Oregon, IL 61061.

Arrangements by Friedrich-Jones Funeral Home & Cremation Services, Naperville, IL.

For more information, please visit or call (630) 355-0213.

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Event Information

Services will be set for a future date to be determined.

Memorial Contribution

Our Saviour's Lutheran Church

815 South Washington St
Naperville, IL 60540

Lutheran Outdoor Ministries Center

P.O. Box 230
Oregon, IL 61061

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