Rev. Loras C. Otting, 85, passed away Wednesday, March 23, 2022, at Stonehill Care Center in Dubuque.
Visitation was 2-5 p.m., Sunday, March 27, at St. Matthias Catholic Church in Cascade, with a Scripture wake service at 4:30 p.m. Visitation was also from 9-10:30 a.m., Monday, March 28, at St. Matthias Church.
Mass of Christian Burial was at 11:00 a.m., Monday, March 28, at St. Matthias Catholic Church in Cascade, with Archbishop Michael O. Jackels presiding. Concelebrating were Rev. Mark Osterhaus, Rev. Paul Otting, Rev. Mark Ressler and many other priests from the Archdioceses. Assisting Deacon was Mark Otting.
Lectors were Mike Otting and Jenny Metzen. Giftbearers were Joannie Topping, Peggy Woerdehoff and Joyce Knepper. Placing the pall were Joan Otting, Jean Otting and Jean Ann Otting. Casketbearers were Joe Otting, Ron Woerdehoff, Bob Otting, Jr., Steve Otting, Tom Otting, Wes Dolphin, Gary Otting and Russ Otting. Burial was in Calvary Cemetery, Cascade.
Father was born July 4, 1936, in Cascade, son of Joseph A. and Anna H. (Soppe) Otting, the eighth of nine children. Father spoke frequently of his friends, family and cousins who played board games, hunted, fished and went swimming in the Maquoketa River in Cascade. He wrote three books, “Growing Up in Cascade,” about the history of Cascade and this time in his life.
He graduated from St. Mary High School in Cascade and received his BA from Loras College in Dubuque. He attended Mount St. Bernard Seminary, and 60 years ago, was ordained as a priest, March 17, 1962, at St. Raphael Cathedral in Dubuque.
Father taught History and German at several levels – high school, college and the professional level. He held posts at Loras College and the University of Heidelberg, Germany. He studied at the American School of Classical Studies in Athens in 1968. He spoke some Greek and was fluent in Latin and German. In 1972, he attained his Master’s Degree in American History from the University of Iowa.
Father was assigned to St. Edward in Waterloo, St. Jude in Cedar Rapids, and Loras College, Dubuque. In 1972, he taught part-time at Beckman High School in Dyersville while assigned as Associate Pastor at St. Paul Parish in Worthington. From 1974 to 1980, he taught full time at Beckman, then taught at Wahlert High School until 1986. At that time, Father took a leave of absence due to health reasons. In 1989, he taught at St. Rose Academy in California. Father enjoyed the visits and letters from former students who now live throughout the United States.
Father was the Director of Archives and Historical Records for the Archdiocese of Dubuque, starting in 1996. As archivist, he was tasked with preserving and organizing old letters of the church. Five years, and nearly 1000 pages later, he finished the book, entitled “Letters to a Pioneer Bishop,” the correspondence of Mathias Loras, D.D., first Bishop of Dubuque. Father Loras retired in 2011.
In 1993, Father received one of the first heart transplants in Iowa, at the University of Iowa Hospital, Iowa City. After surgery he was given a five to seven-year life expectancy. On March 2, 2022, he marked his 29th anniversary of the transplant.
Father loved to travel and visited every state in the USA. He visited every European country, plus, most of South America, Japan, China, Russia and the British Isles.
Family members turned to Father for guidance. He married many of his nieces and nephews, as well as great-nieces and nephews, and then baptized their children. Father was a comfort when one of his family died. His masses, homilies, and always his words of comfort at those times, and for years to come, helped his family deal with their losses. Father ended his homily at family funerals by saying, “In Heaven may the family circle be unbroken by and by.”
The history of the Otting family was researched when he was teaching at Heidelburg. Father wrote “Der Otting Stammbaum,” which translated, means “The Otting Tree.” A family reunion followed with 600 people attending. Father supported the Tri-County Historical Society in Cascade with his history of the area. His books are in the archives of the museum, including a book about the Cascade Spy during the Civil War.
He was a self-declared Iowa Hawkeyes fan. Father kept track of the sports family members participated in and attended many of their games. He loved old movies, especially the 1944 film, “The Keys of the Kingdom” and Native American history. He loved classical music, big band music and songs by the Carter Family.
He is survived by his brother, Jerry (Joan) Otting of Cascade; two sisters-in-law, Jean Ann Otting and Jean Otting both of Cascade and many nieces and nephews.
He was preceded in death by his parents; his brothers: Bill, Jim, Bob and Don; sisters: Betty Woerdehoff, Rosemary Otting and Joanne Otting; brother-in-law, Cliff Woerdehoff; sisters-in-law, Madonna Otting and Grace Otting; nephews: Bob Woerdehoff, John Otting and Dave Otting and a niece, Lisa Otting.
The family would like to thank the staff at Stonehill Care Center and Hospice of Dubuque for the great care and concern given to Father while a resident. To all friends, family and Archbishop Jackels, thank you for your prayers, concern, visits, taking Father to doctor appointments, phone calls and any help given Father. His family will not be sending individual thank you cards, as Father would say, “God bless you all.”
In lieu of flowers, the family requests memorials for Father be given to the Tri-County Historical Society, P.O. Box 234, Cascade, Iowa 52033 or to a charity of your choice.