Byron Dean Otten, long-time Orcas Island resident, passed away on Sept. 21, 2012, as his two and a half year battle with cancer came to a close. Buoyed by his faith, and the love of his family he maintained his sense of humor and concern for others.
By was born in Ortonville, Minn. in 1937. His childhood was spent in the Willmar, Minn. area where he graduated from high school and attended St. Cloud State college. He joined the Naval Aviation Cadet program and earned his wings as a Naval Aviator. He excelled in aviation and was selected as an attack pilot flying the carrier passed A-4 Skyhawk. Following his tour as a Naval Aviator, he attended the University of Minnesota and flew in the Navy Reserve. He flew with many reserve pilots who were commercial pilots with Northwest Orient Airlines. This exposure prompted him to look into commercial aviation. By interviewed and was hired at Northwest. He flew Boeing 707, 727 and retired as a 747 Captain. While flying from Seattle, a group of Islands drew his attention. While the clouds covered the mainland, the sun seemed to favor the San Juans. Here he found his forever home on the San Juan’s Orcas Island.
By leaves behind a loving wife and family that will miss him immensely. They have found comfort in knowing that he had a great sense of completion and had accomplished all he wanted in life. He has now made his final flight west after a life well lived. Many will miss him.