Otto K. Korth, Jr.

OttoKorth.jpg Obit photoPassed away March 9, 2019 at the age of 88. Otto was born on September 17, 1930, the oldest child of Erma and Otto Korth, Sr. and was born in Chicago, IL. When Otto was a boy his family moved to MN and lived in Fairmont and St. James, before the family (by then, a younger brother Phil and sister Nancy were born) moved to St. Paul in 1945.  Otto came into this world with a courageous soul for wanderlust. After listening to radio broadcasts in St. James the front page newspaper reported, this 5-year old Otto and his buddy had a scheme to borrow a farmer’s horse (to swim across the ocean) and riding to Ethiopia to rescue Emperor Selassie from the fascist regime of Italian dictator Mussolini. As soon as he could get out the door, he was exploring the lakes, rivers, and open fields available in southwestern MN, always seeking new adventures. He said his mother was always looking for him and he frequently reflected on a joy in the freedom he had, that is unheard of today. Otto graduated from St. Paul Central High School in 1948 and enlisted in the Universal Military Training. The idea was to spend one year in the service and then six in the reserves. He felt that his college would not be interrupted by a military draft. As it turned out, college was interrupted by recall for active duty in the Korean War in 1951. After the Korean War, he continued his education and graduated from Macalester College in 1956.  He was also a Vietnam War veteran. During his career with the Air Force and the MN ANG, he flew T-34, T-28, T-33, F-89, F-4, C-46, C-47, C-97, F-102, and C-130.  He is a former Squadron Commander of the 109th Tactical Airlift Squadron (1978), Deputy Commander of Operations for 133rd Tactical Airlift Wing (1981) and former Assistant Adjutant General for Air, State of Minnesota (1983).  In 1985, after 36 years of service, he received a Legion of Merit Award and retired from the MN Air National Guard as a Brigadier General. Otto had a concurrent career as International Captain with 3M Aviation Department and during which he flew Cessna 310, Lockheed Loadstar, DC-2, DC-3, Convair 440, Jetstar, Fairchild F-27, Gulfstream I, II and IV.  His last flight with 3M was in 1990 and was the pinnacle of his flying career; an around-the-world in one month (44 hours) flying extravaganza, stopping in various countries for 3M business. In 1991, he became the Director of Operations and Restoration for the MN Air National Guard Museum, retiring in 2000. He aspired to live up to the motto “duty, honor and country.”Otto said he had the “best job in the world,” flying planes around the world, seeing it’s glorious wonders and making lifelong friendships along the way. When reflecting on his experiences, he always shook his head in awe and couldn’t believe a guy like him, from humble beginnings and being raised during the depression, could be so lucky. During his high school and college days he was an accomplished athlete – he loved the competition. In retirement, by then with repaired bones, he still played a little tennis and golf. At 67 he was so proud of achieving the golfer’s nirvana by hitting a hole-in-one at Whitefish Golf Course in Pequot Lakes. Otto was an passionate outdoor sportsman too and learned how to hunt and fish in his boyhood. Friends and family joined in his great love of fishing around the world and they caught magnificent fish – these were some of his most delightful memories. In retirement, he shared his love of culinary endeavors with friends and family by and hosting an annual wild game feast and cooking everyone’s donated meat and fish. Frequent poker games with his cronies was another pleasure during his retirement. But people close to him knew where his heart and soul were most happy; at what he called the “Pelican Palace.” His home on Pelican Lake in Pequot Lakes, MN was a place frequented by family and friends to enjoy golf, water and beach recreation, games (backgammon, marbles and cards) and a wonderful meal. The highlight of this blissful relaxation was sitting around a beach bonfire, sipping a cocktail or scotch (or “vitamin S” as Otto called it), watching the sun drown in the horizon and the sky become painted in an array of pink, orange and yellow sunsets. As our family grieves Otto’s passing; we hope the future will bring discoveries and treatments to prevent dementia. Otto was a lifelong believer that all humans with a terminal disease, which science cannot conquer, there be a tolerance for an individuals’ right to end needless suffering and determine the moment of their passing. This option would have contributed a measure of peace and comfort to the final period of Otto’s life. We will terribly miss his vivid mind, outgoing personality, great jokes and stories, and contagious laughter. He is preceded in death by his parents, Erma and Otto, Sr.; former wives Lois Meisle Parish and Patti Korth; and wife Roberta. He is survived by his children Dawn Mier and Gregory Korth; brother, Phillip Korth (Nadine) and sister, Nancy Kubat; grandchildren; and many nieces and nephews.Memorials preferred in Otto’s memory to the Alzheimer’s Association 7900 W. 78th Street Suite 100, Minneapolis, MN 55439. Private family interment at Ft. Snelling National Cemetery at a later date.Twin Cities Cremation 651-645-1233