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Dr. Richard Ott

September 14, 1933 - June 19, 2018

Memorial Service - Saturday, July 7, 2018

July 07, 2018
- 2:00 PM

Boulger Funeral Home & Celebration of Life Center, Fargo


Boulger Funeral Home

Dr. Richard Ott

September 14, 1933 - June 19, 2018


Dr. Richard D. Ott

Rich Ott, 84, of West Fargo, North Dakota, passed away on June 19, 2018, at Good Samaritan Society Assisted Living in Fargo after a long illness.

Rich was born September 14, 1933, to William and Beatrice Fanger, in St. Louis, Missouri. His mother died when he was an infant, and he was adopted by Frank and Emma Ott, also of St. Louis, where he was raised. He graduated from Ritenour High School, received a B.S. and M.S at The University of Missouri in Columbia, and a PhD at St. Louis University.

As a young man, Rich served over 11 years in the U.S. Army Reserve. He has been a teacher, guidance counselor, high school principal, superintendent, and retired after 21 years as executive director of the North Dakota School Boards Association.

After his first retirement, Rich served as director of the Central Dakota Humane Society, the director of the North Dakota Head Injury Association, 20 months as interim executive director for AID Inc., providing services for the working poor, and numerous other volunteer services and paid stints before finally retiring for good at age 80.

Rich is survived by his wife, Doris; daughters Becky Davis (Mike), Joni Ott (Tom Byrne); stepson Scott Reinke (Angela); grandchildren Jeffrey Davis, Mary Wilson, Joanna Byrne (Derek Cortez), Allison Byrne and Alexandra Reinke; and great-grandson Michael Wilson.

Years ago, Rich wrote his own obituary, which follows.


When this is read, I will be wherever it has been determined that I should go following life in this world.

I was born September 14, 1933, in a suburb of St. Louis, Missouri, and ended up with the name Richard D. Ott after a series of adoption procedures.

Thanks to everyone for an exciting and satisfying life. Many people, even some I didn’t know, gave me so much. Thanks to all you kind folks.

To my cherished friends and family, I offer a huge bouquet of gratitude.

Special thanks to my oldest daughter, Becky, and her family, and to my youngest daughter, Joni, and her family. From the day each of you girls came along, you’ve been sheer delight.

Then there’s my wife, Doris. Words can never express my appreciation for all she has done for me, and for all she has meant to me. Living with her has been an ongoing courtship.

I’ve asked that there be very little commotion to mark my departure. (But I probably have little to say about that now.) However, rather than having folks take a lot of time away from work, travel a long distance, buy flowers, send cards, establish scholarships, etc., I’d prefer that you go out to a nice restaurant, enjoy a big meal, give me a positive thought and go about your lives.

If you feel compelled to do something beyond this, send a donation to an animal shelter of your choice. Many of my furry friends live there.

May your time on Earth be as happy and rewarding as mine was.

Richard D. Ott.


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24 responses to “Dr. Richard Ott”

  1. Pattie Middendopr says:

    With our deepest heartfelt sympathy from your Extended family @ Good Sam-Fargo.
    We Love & Miss You.

  2. Melissa Fischer says:

    Truly was an honor to know this great & kind gentleman, even if it was for a short time. He truly is remarkable and to see the love between Doris & him is even more so. Thinking of you and all the family.

  3. Renee Lerfald says:

    Rest in peace, kind and gracious man. To a man who could not have loved his precious Doris or his daughters more. What a role model to all who met him. We miss you.

  4. Margaret McAlevey says:

    I remember Dr. Ott very well – he was the principal at Lafayette High School while I attended, graduating in 1968. I remember a very kind, thoughtful man – someone you would remember when so many other teachers were not so memorable. I’m happy to hear he lived a good, long life. Condolences to his family.

  5. Sheree Sewell Cawthon says:

    To the family of Richard Ott -I am very sorry to learn of your loss. I knew his daughter, Joni, in grade school at Woerther Elementary (we were great friends before she moved away). I pray that your very fond memories bring you comfort now and in the future.

    Sheree Sewell Cawthon

  6. Debbie Smith says:

    He has done such wonderful things in North Dakota Becky and Joni and your families i am sure are proud. I remember him from my youth with wonderful memories. May he rest in peace.

  7. Jeanne (Schmeer) Reese says:

    I remember Dr. Ott as principal of Lafayette High School. He was such a good and kind man with a great smile. Many a teen girl had a crush on him. He was a good and decent man. So sorry for your loss.

  8. Judy Klatt Nachtweih - Class of '71 says:

    My heartfelt sympathy and prayers for strength and peace for family and friends. Dr. Ott played a formidable role in many of our lives oh so many years ago at Lafayette High School in Ellisville, Missouri. Rest in Peace. Your kindness will always be remembered.

  9. Michelle Gianella says:

    Sorry to hear of Dr. Ott’s passing. Many happy memories of him from Lafayette Sr. High School, Ellisville, MO.

  10. Carol J Weninger says:

    Sympathy and prayers for family and friends. Dr Ott served an Interm Superintendent at the Anamoose Public School 2002-2004. Many happy memories working with him at APS.

  11. Donald and Mary Beck says:

    We had the privilege of knowing and working with Dr. Ott during his time at the Anamoose Public School. We have many good memories of working with him. Our sincere sympathy to Doris, daughters and families, and friends.

  12. Karen Underdahl says:

    Doris and family,
    I want to express our sincere sympathy on the loss of your husband! I read the obituary that he wrote, he did a
    very nice job of expressing his sentiment regarding his life! I am Karen Sprenger Underdahl, I took many of your library classes at Dickinson State. My mother was Lilliian Diehl Sprenger and she had mentioned that we were related somehow. I don’t expect that you remember me, but I wanted to express our condolences! Thinking of you and the family during this difficult time! Take care!
    Karen and Lynn Underdahl at Hebron, ND

  13. Cameo Skager says:

    Rich did so much for all the people and the pets at CDHS. His wisdom, ideas, and encouragement helped our organization grow and help even more critters. I always loved seeing Rich with that smile on his face. My thoughts are with his family.

  14. Gary Rath says:

    Rich and I shared a long and somewhat different relationship while he was executive director of the North Dakota School Boards Association. When I left the classroom, I joined the staff of the North Dakota Insurance Trust which was a joint venture between the NDSBA and NDEA. His passion for public education was so evident as we worked together for the best interest of both the local school board and the local teachers Association. As I moved to working for NDEA we sometimes were strong supports of issues and sometimes on opposite sides. But at all times we remained friends and his honest approach was always obvious. Following his time at NDSBA, I would run into Rich around Bismarck. He always asked about my family and of course my dog.

    I am better for having known Rich! Please use your memories of him to help you through these days.

    Gary D. Rath
    Chief Financial Officer
    North Dakota United

  15. Mark Zuniga says:

    So sad about his passing, wish the family well.

  16. LOWELL JENSEN says:

    I was saddened today when I read of Richard’s passing.
    As you know, we were very close and I considered him to be one of my closest and dearest friends. I feel badly that we went our separate ways and lost track of each other in recent years.
    He will be remembered as an excellent force in ND education and I have many fond memories of the times when we pursued common educational goals.
    I am unable to attend the service but Karen and I will send a check to the humane society and go out for dinner as he suggested.
    Karen and I wish you well now as you try to fill the huge void in your life.
    Lowell Jensen

  17. Peggy and Fred Stibbe says:

    Our symphony to you and your family in the death of Rich. He was a kind man and so helpful to all in the rulings in the Villas of Charleswood Association.

  18. Rev. Wayne & Bonnie Rouse says:

    We remember the day Richard & Doris were married in down town Mandan. And, I believe I took him golfing once in Elgin, ND. He was one of those people that leave a lasting impression on you. Our thoughts go out to Doris who is also a very special person. Richard got it right, when he wrote in his obituary that his life with Doris was an “ongoing courtship”.

  19. Kathy Eckroth says:

    Our greatness sympathy Doris and your amazing family .Rich was probably the nicest kindest man I have ever met he always made every one feel special .Thank you for sharing a part of your lives with us it always was fun and lots of laughter. Rich and you had a very special bond and it was wonderful to see.

  20. Allen McIntyre says:

    I was there when we hired him as the Executive Director of the NDSBA. It was an honor to work with him for many years. Richard was kind, honest and dedicated to education. My heart goes out to his family. May your faith guide you in the weeks and months ahead.

  21. Steve Tomac says:


    Sorry to hear of Rich’s passing! Know that you are in my thoughts and prayers!

    Steve Tomac

  22. Kaaren Pupino says:

    Dear Doris,
    I saw in the Bismarck Tribune that Rich was buried last Saturday. Please accept my condolences and prayers for you and your children at this difficult time. Sam and I will keep you all in our prayers because grief is not able to be handled in short periods.

    Know we are thinking of you. Peace be with you,
    Deacon Sam and Kaaren Pupino

  23. Wanda Berndtson says:

    Unfortunately I just learned of this sad news. Rich will be greatly missed in our world. We had many great times beginning in 1978. He was a wonderful godfather to my daughter. We lost contact in the last few years and I have missed his and Doris’s Santa Claus greetings. Peace, RDO.

  24. vicki patryla says:

    please contact me I was a teacher in the 70s and my superintendent was Dr Ott

    thank you

    Dr Vicki Patryla 770 674 4078

    my principal was melvin maharrey

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