Elmer John Ottney, 81 Akron, died Monday (March 10, 2014) at his residence while under hospice care. He was born January 21, 1933 , a son of the late Elmer and Mildred Lamm Ottney of Williamsville.
Elmer was a loving and dedicated husband for 59 years to Jean Beiter Ottney, whom he married on January 29, 1955 at Sts. Peter & Paul Church. The devoted father of five children, Elmer always had time for games and conversation and enjoyed sharing time with his family on vacations. To his many colleagues and friends, Elmer was a steadfast and genial man who was generous with his time and many talents.
Elmer served in the U.S. Air Force at posts in the United States and in Labrador during the Korean War and was a member of the L.L. Tillman Post American Legion in Akron. A civil engineer by training, he worked for Senior, Bissell & Bronkie land surveyors and then for Erie County where he gained a reputation for his work with the developing field of aerial mapping. He was contracted as part of a U.S. Geological Survey team that spent months doing photographic remapping from a helicopter of the devastated terrain surrounding Mt. St. Helens after the volcano’s eruption in 1980. He formed his own successful land surveying company, with the result that his work often encompassed entire streets of residential properties, major agricultural and suburban tract developments and even road construction projects throughout western New York. Elmer served as president of the NYS Professional Land Surveyors Association and was on the Village of Akron Planning Board.
Elmer was a devout parishioner of St. Teresa of Avila Catholic Church. When the parish built a new church and elementary school, he was among the first to volunteer to serve at Bingo nights and auctions, design and build and staff booths for the annual festival, usher at Masses and count contributions, and serve in any other capacity needed. Every Christmas season, he would erect the manger scene that he constructed. He had a sharp mind that constantly worked on solutions to problems or projects and possessed unexpected talents including leatherworking, furniture-making and a gift for growing roses. He was an avid fan of auto racing and car shows and had a particular fondness for Mercury Cougars. Elmer had a large circle of dear friends with whom he enjoyed golfing and who, together with Jean, celebrated gatherings of family and friends.
He had learned carpentry from his father and oversaw construction of a small home before the family outgrew it and moved to Akron, where he built a larger home and successive additions to it at the top of Chestnut Street. The neighboring field that he regularly mowed served as an excellent neighborhood ball field and the slope behind the house led to hours of his hauling a toboggan back to the top in winter. Once their children had grown, he and Jean moved to a smaller home, which Elmer also designed and worked on. In his later years, he focused on slightly smaller, but equally creative structures, building birdhouses that he donated to family, friends and organizations for use in fundraising.
Elmer is survived by his wife, his children Jim, Kathy (John) Parker, Joe (Carolyn), and Rosanne (Paul) Sheppard, grandchildren, nieces and nephews, along with his sisters Jeanne (Walker) of Williamsville, Ann (Burch) of Greensboro, NC, and Donna (Feller) of Merritt Island, FL, as well as hundreds of people whose lives he touched with his caring manner, his sense of humor, and his generous help of others. He was preceded in death by a son, Danny, in 1970.
Friends of the family are cordially invited to share their thoughts, condolences and fond memories with the family on Thursday (Mar. 13, 2014), from 3 – 7 pm at the J. LEONARD MCANDREW FUNERAL HOME, LLC., 32 JOHN ST., AKRON. Mass of Christian Burial will be Friday at 10:00 am at St. Teresa of Avila RC Church. Please assemble at church.
In lieu of flowers, those desiring may make memorials in the form of Mass Offerings or to Hospice Buffalo, 225 Como Park Blvd, Cheektowaga, NY 14227.
Interment will be in St. Teresa’s Cemetery. Expressions of condolence may be made at: www.mcandrewfuneralhomes.net.
ARRANGEMENTS WERE ENTRUSTED TO THE J. LEONARD MCANDREW FUNERAL HOME, LLC, 32 JOHN ST., AKRON, NY. RONALD KONIECZNY II, DIRECTOR & PROPRIETOR.