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Devils Lake Journal - Devils Lake, ND
  • Dr. Vernon H. Otis, “Doc Otis” OD

  • Dr. Vernon H. Otis, “Doc Otis” OD, 93, a lifelong resident of the Lake Region area passed away on Saturday, May 26, 2012 at the Heartland Care Center in the loving care of his family and Mercy Hospice at the age of 93. 


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  • Dr. Vernon H. Otis, “Doc Otis” OD, 93, a lifelong resident of the Lake Region area passed away on Saturday, May 26, 2012 at the Heartland Care Center in the loving care of his family and Mercy Hospice at the age of 93.  
    Funeral services for Vernon will be on Thursday, May 31, 2012 at 11 a.m. at Westminster Presbyterian Church, Devils Lake, with Pastor Kevin Kaufmann officiating.  Burial will be in the Devils Lake Cemetery with military honors accorded by the Neathery-Simensen Post #756, Devils Lake Veterans of Foreign Wars and the North Dakota Military Funeral Honors Team.  
    Visitation will be at the Gilbertson Funeral Home, Devils Lake, on Wednesday from 3 p.m. until 6 p.m. and on Thursday at the church one hour prior to the funeral service.   Serving as casket bearers for Vernon will be John Lawrence, Levi Otis, William Otis, Carson Byram, Rick LaFleur and Perry Lundon.  Music will be provided by Patty Cote.  
    Dr. Otis was born at the family homestead, rural Devils Lake, ND on Dec 27, 1918, during the Spanish Flu Pandemic, when hospitals were not allowing births in their facilities.
    Dr. Otis is survived by his daughter, Penny (Otis) Lawrence and spouse John of Savannah, TX, and son, Greg of Devils Lake.  Also left to mourn are his grandchildren, Cheryl (John III) Lawrence-Laine and Jeff Lawrence of Savannah, TX; Levi Otis, of Fargo, ND, Ashley Otis of Anchorage, AK, and Bill Otis of Grand Forks, ND, and great-granddaughter Shaylea Otis of Fargo, ND.
    Dr. Otis was preceded in death by his wife, Floris in 1994, his parents, Bert and Stella (Graham) Otis, and his older brother, Earl.
    The Otis and Graham families were homesteaders in 1881 and 1882. Originally from Canada, grandfather William N. Otis moved out of Iowa and struck a claim. The requirement to settle the claim was to occupy and improve the land through building a home, in this case a “Claim Shack,” and “bust sod.” The first year the family, along with the animals, stayed together in the claim shack.  By sheer will and luck, the family eventually built and lived in a very progressively built, for the times, house which was occupied by the family until Bert and Stella Otis retired from farming in 1971.
    Dr. Otis was very active in the Devils Lake community since graduating from DLHS.  He furthered his education by graduating from the Northern Illinois School of Optometry in 1943.  Immediately upon gaining his Doctor of Optometry in 1943, Dr. Otis was inducted into the US Army.  Dr. Otis was assigned to the WWII Pacific War Theater serving in New Guinea and the Philippines.  
    In 1946, Dr. Otis joined Dr J.K. Galloway in providing optometric services for the Devils Lake Region and beyond.  Dr. Otis eventually retired in 1985.
    He was involved with raising funds for the local Red Cross and the Mercy Hospital Building Fund; served actively in the Presbyterian Church as an Elder and board member; served the local Masons, Eastern Star and Rainbow Girls in a variety of positions; was deeply involved with the Rotary Club on a local, national and international level; worked with the Community Chest; was an active adult leader in the Devils Lake Scouting program for many years, for which he received the Silver Beaver Award, one of Scouting’s highest recognitions; provided service and leadership willingly in the Lake Region Skating Club; and worked with the Elks, enjoying the service and fellowship that they offered. Later in life, Dr. Otis supported the Senior Center, offering service to the Meals-On-Wheels and being the “Chief Apple Peeler” for the annual Pie Sale.  He will be sorely missed by his family and many friends.
    Page 2 of 2 - Friends may sign the online register book and share memories of Vernon at www.gilbertsonfuneralhome.com.
    Gilbertson Funeral Home, Devils Lake, is handling the arrangements.