Frank Otto


Frank Otto, 80, passed quietly at home on July 26, 2017. Frank was born in Cleveland, Ohio on October 7, 1936 to Albert Frank Otto and Elizabeth Ruth McKenna. Frank lived his life with gusto. He had an infectious laugh and loved entertaining friends and family. Outings with Frank were all about “maximum fun.”

Frank put himself through high school and college by directing and playing piano in a big band. He met the love of his life, Janet Mae Reed, while playing for a party at his fraternity. They both graduated from Baldwin Wallace College and were married shortly thereafter in 1958. In 1972, Frank and Jan joined the Mormon church just months before moving their family to Mexico for the first of many travel adventures. He traveled all over the world for business and pleasure and relished experiencing new cultures, languages, and cuisine.

Frank was dedicated to linguistics and education, earning his MA in Spanish Language and Literature and PhD in Educational Administration at University of Wisconsin at Madison. He was a pioneer and entrepreneur in digital learning, focusing on English as a Second Language (ESL). His distinguished career included professor positions at University of Wisconsin Whitewater, Ohio State University, The University of the Americas in Puebla, Mexico, and Brigham Young University. While at BYU, he participated in the development for the TICCIT system, one of the first interactive multimedia programs for teaching Spanish with computers. During his time at BYU, Frank was instrumental in the founding of CALICO (the Computer-Assisted Language Instruction Consortium) and was the founding editor of the CALICO Journal. He developed programs with the Agency for International Development, the Department of Defense, and the Defense Language Institute. After retirement, Frank was the president of a software company dedicated to ESL.

Frank would say, “The glue in my life has always been Jan, the kids, and music.” He is survived by his loving wife of 59 years, Janet Reed Otto; daughters Lynn Otto (Louis Spencer Smith) and Sue Hall (Jeff Hall); sons Mike, Tim (Caroline Otto), and Jim Otto (Gregg White); 8 grandchildren; and sisters Mary Minnich and Ann Leske. Music was a passion throughout his life. He will perhaps be most remembered for his jazz musicianship, and he never passed up a chance to “toodle.”

Frank and Jan’s combined wish is to have no viewing or memorial until they can be taken together to their final resting place in Fredericksburg, Ohio. For those wishing to pay respects, the family requests that you share a Frank story with someone you love.