TribLIVE

| Obituaries

 
Larger text Larger text Smaller text Smaller text | Order Photo Reprints

Civic-minded entrepreneur made time to unwind

Email Newsletters

Click here to sign up for one of our email newsletters.
Joseph C. 'Joe' Ott of Ohio Township

Daily Photo Galleries

'American Coyotes' Series

Traveling by Jeep, boat and foot, Tribune-Review investigative reporter Carl Prine and photojournalist Justin Merriman covered nearly 2,000 miles over two months along the border with Mexico to report on coyotes — the human traffickers who bring illegal immigrants into the United States. Most are Americans working for money and/or drugs. This series reports how their operations have a major impact on life for residents and the environment along the border — and beyond.

By Megan Harris
Monday, July 14, 2014, 11:03 p.m.
 

Little joys pervaded Joe Ott's laborious life.

“He worked to live,” said his son, Douglas Ott of South Park. “Staying out late in his early years playing cards. A good gin and tonic. He was one of those guys who had a lot of fun along the way.”

Joseph C. “Joe” Ott, of Diamond Run in Ohio Township, died on Friday, July 11, 2014, in his home, surrounded by family, ending a 2 12-year battle with esophageal cancer. He was 77.

“His agile mind, endless curiosity for learning, zest for life, generosity and irreverent humor will be sorely missed by all who knew him,” said his daughter, Michelle Crookenden of Connecticut.

A civil engineering graduate of the University of Pittsburgh, Mr. Ott was a local pioneer in computer software, working in California for Douglas Aircraft — later McDonnell Douglas — as a computer specialist designing missile simulations for the Nike and Skybolt Missiles, and the Saturn IVB rocket booster. He founded his first company, Ecco Consulting, in 1964, followed by Acclamation Systems and most recently, TowerMetriX.

Mr. Ott was chairman of Pitt's Institute of Entrepreneurial Excellence and was a volunteer, chair and fundraiser for ACHIEVA, a South Side-based special needs advocacy group.

“Joe could speak volumes with a single look,” wrote former Acclamation vice president Terri Slesinski of Upper St. Clair.

He could be a fierce competitor and demanding leader, Crookenden said. His high expectations infused a sort of entrepreneurial ambition that emboldened his children, his son said.

“He liked the free time, liked to smell the roses,” Ott said. “Dad's drive in that way showed me that you could build a life with your own structure, your own priorities.”

Douglas Ott started his first venture, Surface Jet Tours, after decades watching his father navigate the evolution of technology, he said.

“Growing up, we'd go to his office and see the punch-card machine in his office. We had one of the earliest home computers,” he said.

Mr. Ott was a Steelers fan and an avid golfer who parlayed his love into the Acclamation Million Dollar Golf Challenge, a multiyear ACHIEVA charity that raised more than $500,000 for the organization, his daughter said.

In addition to his children, Michelle Crookenden and Douglas Ott, Mr. Ott is survived by his wife, Rae Ott of Ohio Township; sister, Joan Davies of Connecticut; brother, Patrick Ott of Montana; and three grandchildren. Rae's daughter and granddaughter, both of California, also survive him.

Visitation is 2 to 4 and 6 to 8 p.m. Wednesday in Schellhaas Funeral Home, 1600 Stone Mansion Drive in Franklin Park. Funeral services will be at 11 a.m. Thursday.

Megan Harris is a staff writer for Trib Total Media. Reach her at 412-388-5815 or mharris@tribweb.com.

Subscribe today! Click here for our subscription offers.

 

 


Show commenting policy

Most-Read Stories

  1. Freeport’s Morrison strong-arms way to title
  2. Experts say Pennsylvania is a breeding ground for corruption
  3. 4 ejections, benches-clearing scrum mark Pirates’ win over Reds
  4. Steelers’ Harrison awaits go-ahead from Tomlin before practicing
  5. Cyclist injured in hit and run in East Liberty, police say
  6. Tax fight brews among Southwest Greensburg business owners, landlords
  7. Pittsburgh airport improvements noted as CEO tries to expand activity
  8. Zimbabwe alleges Murrysville doctor illegally killed lion
  9. Work planned for Route 711 in Ligonier
  10. Greensburg native runs unique catering service in California
  11. National Night Out ‘a start’ for violence-prone Homewood