Ottis Cantrell, our beloved father, husband, grandfather, and great grandfather passed away at age 90 on May 8, 2013 in Arlington, Wash. Ottis was born in 1922 in Henson Springs, Ala., the youngest of seven children. A member of the Greatest Generation, he served in WWII from 1942 to 1946 in the Army Air Corp.
After WWII, Ottis married Audra Faye Carrouth, the love of his life. He was married 66 years and raised six children; Dan, Mike, Marce, Mark, Kim and Rob, near Tecumseh, Mich. Ottis and his family spent 40 years working on their country farmhouse (once owned by Henry Ford) and growing productive and memorable gardens. Ottis’ homemade jelly is legendary. Ottis was a welder and production worker for refrigeration manufacturing for 37 years at Tecumseh Products. He enjoyed teaching his boys how to work on cars, fix machines, build and remodel, as well as spending time with community friends and family. Ottis moved “up north” for work, but his Alabama family and friends were very important to him. He would return with his family at every opportunity so that his children would know their heritage, and have a bond with their extended family. Ottis enjoyed camping trips and travels with family to the South and through the Western United States. He also enjoyed watching his children grow up and become hardworking good citizens. He was proud of his family.
After retirement, Ottis and Audra moved to Bellingham, Wash., to be near their children and grandchildren and enjoy their retirement with family. Ottis met many friends and neighbors while walking the trails of Fairhaven and Bellingham with his beloved blue heeler dog, Woody. Ottis was always popular with dogs and various animals that seemed to know he would willingly throw a ball or Frisbee or feed them treats. Audra and Ottis enjoyed times spent visiting with all the new friends they met in the Northwest.
Ottis was the salt of the earth, a master machinist, a savvy rook player, quick-witted and resourceful with just about everything. His workshop was his place of solace. When something was broken or worn out, someone would say, “Oh, well Grandpa can fix it”… and he did. Ottis’ friendly, caring and quick-witted manner was liked by all and his hardworking, caring, principled ways will be remembered with love by his family and friends.
Ottis was preceded in death by his parents and siblings, his son Mike and Mike’s wife Patti McKee.
Ottis is survived by his wife, Audra, son Dan Cantrell of Bellingham, Wash., (wife Anne and granddaughters Dana Rindal (husband Kevin) great grandsons Grant and Logan and Erika Buse (husband Derek) and soon-to-be great granddaughter Layla Faye), daughter Marce Cantrell-Shinall of Fripp Island, S.C. (husband Gail Shinall, granddaughters Jan Edwards (husband Dan Hanselman) and Dawn Edwards, great grandsons Justin, Normal and great granddaughter Linne’a), Mark Cantrell of Carnation, Wash., (wife Barb, grandson Josh Maddox, granddaughter Jessi Barefield (husband Nathan), great granddaughter Briley and soon-to-be great granddaughter Reese), Kim Cantrell of Bellingham, Wash., (wife Gwyn Howat), Rob Cantrell of Arlington, Wash., (grandsons Ethan and Noah Cantrell).
Ottis’ final resting place will be at Webb Cemetery. Graveside service will be announced at a later date.