Otto Gail Eachus, Jr., age 89, passed away on June 23, 2017 in Roswell, New Mexico. Otto was born in Schell City, Missouri to Otto Gail Eachus, Sr. and Florence Wolfe Eachus, on June 22, 1928.
Otto is survived by his wife, Dorothy House Eachus and his two (2) children: Timothy Eachus of Granby, Missouri and his wife Jacqueline Clark Eachus; and Dr. Terri Eachus of Roswell, New Mexico and her husband Paul Taylor, III. Otto is also survived by his two (2) grandchildren: Timothy Cameron Eachus of Montreal, Canada; and Alexandra Paige Taylor of Fort Worth, Texas. He is also survived by his brother John Reid Eachus of Houston, Texas and sister Evelyn Thorton of Chase, Kansas and a host of nieces and nephews. Otto is also survived by his beloved Papillon Pierre (on loan from his granddaughter, Paige). He is preceded in death by his parents Otto Gail Eachus, Sr. and Florence Wolfe Eachus and his sister Annabelle La Fleur.
Otto’s father’s occupation of establishing small telephone exchanges moved the family frequently throughout the small communities of rural Missouri. His teenage years were spent in Sarcoxie, Missouri. Otto was active in sports, church and the Boy Scouts. Otto was an Eagle Scout and selected to be a member of the Order of the Arrow, which is the National Honor Society of the Boy Scouts of America. Members are selected by their peers as best exemplifying the ideals of scouting. In Sunday school, Otto had six (6) straight years of perfect attendance. In order to attend his own Eagle Scout induction, he and his best friend hitchhiked to and from the Eagle Scout Award Ceremony. If there was an Attendance Merit Badge, he probably should have received one for his consistency.
Otto graduated from Sarcoxie High School and left with five (5) of his friends the very next day for Army Basic Training at Fort Lewis, Washington. He was sent directly to Korea as a member of the Army of Occupation. There he spent the coldest winter of his life, especially after his barracks burned down. Otto achieved the rank of Staff Sergeant before his Honorable Discharge.
After his stint in the Army, Otto enrolled at Southwest Missouri State now known as Missouri State University in Springfield, Missouri taking advantage of his earned G.I. Bill. It was there that he met his wife to be, Dorothy House. She was his biology lab instructor and a fellow PE Class member and square dance partner. His gleaming wingtips with taps on the heels, polished to perfection (like no other could polish) caught her attention or maybe it was his distinctive eyebrows or his always neat appearance. Otto achieved his Bachelor of Science in Education at Southwest Missouri State and his Masters of Science in Administration from the University of Arkansas in Fayetteville. “WOOOOOO…. !!” “PIG!!!” “SOOIE!!!” “RAZORBACKS!!!” After graduating he began his teaching and coaching career in Granby, Missouri.
Otto and Dorothy were married on May 17, 1950 in Springfield, Missouri. They had a blessed partnership of sixty-seven (67) married years together. They enjoyed raising their children and dedicating themselves to their teaching profession and their students’ educations. Otto enjoyed traveling, as well as Dorothy, especially by car. Most summer vacations were spent traveling throughout the USA and striving to see as much of our country as possible. Several of his young nephews and nieces, and the kids’ friends, became vagabonds that joined Terri’s and Tim’s summer adventures. His son-in-law, Paul Taylor, III stated that he believed that Mr. Eachus would gladly drive a thousand miles to see The Biggest Ball of String if it existed. The balance of summer vacations and most extended school holidays were spent at the family farms in Missouri. Otto enjoyed building fence on his farms in Missouri, photography (with all of his darkroom magic), and restoring his collection of antique cars.
Otto and Dorothy were/are members of Trinity United Methodist Church and raised their two (2) children in that church family. Their tenure at TUMC in Roswell is among the longest at fifty-seven (57) years.
Otto was recruited by then Roswell Independent School District Superintendent Shinkle to teach at North Junior High. This was the beginning of Otto’s thirty-three (33) plus years of teaching PE and New Mexico History, coaching of track, basketball and football and finally, counseling. He served as Interim Principal of Dexter High School and returned to be Counselor at Mesa Middle School at the age of seventy-eight (78) after being retired for several years. As he filled out his RISD application to be rehired, he quipped that all his job references were deceased. Superintendent Michael Gottlieb gladly signed him back up. Those years were especially rewarding for Otto. He retired once again after five (5) more years of service to the Roswell Independent School District at the age of eighty-three (83).
Otto was very active in his professional organization, the National Education Association. He served the local NEA as the organization’s President for two (2) terms, as well as Regional Chairman and State President representing over 10,000 educators at that time. Otto served on the National Board of the NEA for two terms. After retirement, he continued giving to education by serving twelve (12) years on the Roswell Independent School District School Board. Otto coached, attended and refereed thousands of Middle School, Junior High and High School games and tournaments during his career as an educator and coach. He was recognized for officiating the State Basketball Tournament at a recent fifty-year anniversary ceremony. He enjoyed nothing better than to be involved with sports, except maybe being in the classroom or counseling a student. He prided himself in his work and his “play.” He was at home in any gymnasium, football field or stadium where kids played.
The Eachus Family would like to extend its sincere gratitude to the physicians, medical assistants, caregivers and friends who provided kind and compassionate care to our Dad and Pop as his life’s journey concluded. Special thanks to Nicole Vargas, Comfort Keepers, Heartfelt Manor Staff, Kindred Hospice, Dr. Vyas Dake, Dr. Bob Rader, and Eric Stangebye our very special pharmacist, friend and former student-athlete of both Otto and Dorothy.
The family would also like to express its gratitude to LaGrone Funeral Chapel for their kindness and compassion extended to our family. The family would also like to thank in advance Tom Blake, Dr. Sara Montgomery, Sharon Howell, and Paige Taylor for the beautiful music they will be providing at the memorial service, and Kenda Reed Grimm and Amanda Hays for their culinary excellence and other unselfish talents.
Memorial services will be held on Saturday, August the 12th at 10:30 a.m. at Trinity United Methodist Church at 1413 S. Union Avenue, Roswell, New Mexico. The family thanks the church, its staff and Pastor Glenn Thyrion for all of their efforts. Inurnment has taken place at the General Douglas L. McBride Veterans’ Cemetery.
In lieu of flowers, please consider a memorial donation of your choice:
The Cowboy Bell Scholarship Fund
First United Methodist Church
200 N. Pennsylvania Avenue
Roswell, NM 88201
Trinity Methodist Church
1413 S. Union Avenue
Roswell, NM 88203
1000 E. 18th St.
Roswell, NM 88201
Arrangements are under the personal care of LaGrone Funeral Chapel. Online condolences may be made at www.lagronefuneralchapels.com