Sterling Erastus Ottesen


Sterling Erastus Ottesen passed away in Springville, Utah January 3, 2020. Sterling was born to Lester Erastus and Ina Larsen Ottesen March 7, 1930 in the bedroom of his parents’ home. He was a chap-wearing, cap-gun toting boy with a love for adventure and the great outdoors. As a boy, he worked summers on his Grandfather Erastus’ farm in Palmyra gathering eggs from chickens and getting chased by the rooster. He had a special relationship with his grandfather and stories about the farm were deeply ingrained in his memory. He graduated from Springville High in 1948, and left a year later to serve a mission in the British Isles for The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. He loved his mission and would regularly share incredible details of the experiences he had while loving and serving the people there. Following his mission Sterling married his high school sweetheart Carol Jean Clark, in the Salt Lake Temple. He attended the University of Utah and then USC Dental School in Los Angeles, graduating in 1957. He was a loyal USC Trojan all his life except when they played BYU.

Sterling and Carol moved to Southern California and stayed for 42 years, raising six children and welcoming several Native American foster children into their home. Sterling was the initiator of many family adventures despite his busy schedule. Adventures included ski trips to Utah, Saturday afternoons exploring Frog Canyon, trap shooting at the lake and cooking up his legendary cheese pancakes.

Sterling was happiest when serving others. He spent many years serving in the church as bishop, counselor in the Stake presidency and his most cherished role as home teacher. His favorite phrase was: “How can I help you?” He was a man of many talents and interests. He was an avid photographer, a stained glass artist, and outdoorsman. He loved family history and authored many historical volumes.

Sterling and Carol moved to Mapleton, Utah after retirement. Soon after, they were asked to teach English in China at Shandong Medical and Beijing University for two years. They also participated in humanitarian projects in Guatemala, Thailand, Honduras and India.

After Carol’s passing in 2006, Sterling met the lovely Margaret Hayward Taylor. They were married in the Provo Temple in 2009. He would often say it was her beautiful smile and her love of BYU sports that clinched the deal. Margaret not only won Sterling’s heart but also the hearts of all of the Ottesen family. They served a mission together in Long Beach, California. As Sterling’s memory declined Margaret served him with unfailing love and devotion.

Sterling is survived by his children: Sterling Eric Ottesen (Elizabeth) of Salt Lake City; Craig Clark Ottesen (Jamie) of Windsor, California; Lisa Ottesen Fillerup of Heber, Utah; Susan Ottesen of Fairview, New Jersey; Robin Ottesen of Los Angeles, California, and Frances Williams Harris (Kelly) of Greenville, South Carolina. Sterling is also survived by a brother James Ottesen (Deanne) of St. George; a sister Karen Hoopes (Fred) of Spanish Fork, Utah; and sister in law Carol Winegar Ottesen of Highland, Utah. He is also survived by 17 grandchildren and 29 greats.

He is also survived by Margaret’s children Chris (Lyn) Jensen, Diana (Doug) Hastings, Mary Ann (Reed) Galli, Martin (Dawn) Taylor, Jay (Kristi) Taylor and 22 grandchildren and 36 greats.

He was preceded in death by a son, Lester Kent Ottesen, grandson, Daniel Clark Ottesen, son-in-law, Peter McNiven Fillerup, and brother, Keith Ottesen.

Sterling has been a wonderful husband, Dad, fun loving grandpa, brother, and friend. We invite you to join us in celebrating his life January 10th, 6-8pm at the Mapleton 16th Ward Building (1316 S. Main Street). A funeral service will be held January 11th @ 11am at the same location with a viewing prior to the service from 9:30-10:30am.