Nelson / Wintergreen : Good-Bye Frank Ott

NelsonCountyLife – BlueRidgeLife™2008-2013 : Frank Ott (right) at the 2008 Sara Ott Golf Classic named in his late wife’s memory. Frank Ott passed away – Saturday – June 8, 2013.

Nelson County, VA

Way too many times over the past 4-5 years I’ve found myself posting about one of my friends leaving this life. This weekend, I sadly, have to do it again … Saturday night Liz Salas, the Membership & Special Events coordinator for The Nature Foundation At Wintergreen sent me a Facebook message letting me know that Frank Ott was gone. “We called them Mama and Papa Ott. His hugs made everything in the work all right. His laugh would light up a room. They/Sara started the tournament 20 years ago. I still miss her to this day. I’ll miss him just as much! They were an amazing family,” Liz told me around 10 PM Saturday. She was referring to Frank’s wife Sara. The Nature Foundation holds an annual golf tournament each year in her memory.

Frank Ott in the hat (center) shares a hug with friends at the 2008 Sara Ott Memorial Golf Classic. Frank’s wife Sara had passed away earlier that year. The duo helped start the tournament 2 decades ago.

“In 1996 the Wintergreen Rescue Squad was dissolved by WPOA due to significant operational shortcomings. A handful of property owner volunteers stepped up and established our current Volunteer Rescue Squad. Although several members contributed significantly, if I had to attach just one name to the effort, it would be Frank. He embraced our training and became an advanced life support provider, as well as a fire fighter. He was a lifetime member of both the Fire Department and the Rescue Squad. For anything we needed, Frank was there. An avid work worker, Frank built many of the things we still use daily such as our gear racks at Station 2, the equipment cabinet in the back of 174, and the frames around our station 911 maps,” Wintergreen Fire & Rescue Chief Curtis Sheets told BRLM late Saturday night after learning of Frank’s death.

On a personal note, let me wander for a bit. Years ago, long before we had children, I was the emcee for the tournament. Sara was still alive back then. I had NO clue what I was doing. Sara pulled me aside and quietly said, “They don’t know you don’t know what you’re doing, just smile and have fun.” I never forgot that. I kept doing that even after her death and her husband Frank never failed to come up to me and look me straight in the eye and thank me for helping out. I really did nothing. I just showed up and danced, so to speak. But both of them made it a point to let me know how much they appreciated it.

Frank in 2008 announcing the closest Hole In One Winner at the Sara Ott Memorial Golf Classic named in his wife’s memory.

“One day during a winter storm Frank spun around in the intersection of Route 6 and 151. His truck came to rest on the driver’s side. Frank climbed out of his truck, called in his accident via radio, donned his traffic vest, placed road flares in each direction, and upon arrival of our crews was directing traffic. That’s the best example of the “can do” spirit of Frank Ott I can come up with,” Chief Sheets added.

Frank I will miss you. Not as much as your family, your buddies at Fire & Rescue, The Nature Foundation, but I WILL miss you. It won’t be the same pulling into the post office in Nellysford and not chatting it up with you.

RIP my friend, you mattered, and you made a permanent mark during your time here on this earth. I miss you being here already.


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