It is with great sadness to report the passing of our good friend Ken Ott. Below is the obituary to be published in several newspapers. If you knew Ken you knew someone who was certainly intriguing to the end. With his wit and humor and his network of friends and acquaintances. His experiences many only could dream of. May he rest in peace after a long battle with Parkinson’s disease.
Passing of Kenneth J. Ott February 23, 2021.
Born in Yonkers, New York, to Albina and Charles Ott (and welcomed by older brother Charlie), the family moved to Bloomington Indiana, where his father worked for the Otis Elevator Company and his mother was employed by Indiana University. Lifelong friendships were formed during his University High School years; lifelong activities included travel and many reunions with UHS classmates.
He spent his undergraduate years at Indiana University, studying theater and working as an actor in summer stock at the Brown County Summer Playhouse. By the time he graduated from IU in 1973, he had established his own theatre production company, Midwest Theatre Productions, based in Bloomington.
Ken went on to earn an MFA in Directing and Management from the University of Montana. For his graduate thesis he researched and produced “A Director’s Approach to Selective Naturalism in Tobacco Road.”
At age 27 he moved to Aurora, Illinois, to become the director of information at the Paramount Arts Centre, gaining national press attention for the restored community redevelopment project, attracting new audiences and Chicagoland celebrities to the arts centre, and initiating his long career as an arts advancement professional.
He moved to Anchorage, Alaska in 1978 to become the Manager of the ACC Performing Arts Center. In Alaska he befriended many local luminaries, including noted dogsled musher and explorer Col. Norman Vaughan.
Southern California was his destination in 1980, working in theater and film development, Ken authored a number of screenplays, and served as a Development Officer at the University of Southern California School of Medicine. He joined the Pasadena Playhouse in 1988 as Development Director, supporting productions including Other People’s Money and The Twilight of the Golds, and later joined Loyola University as the Assistant Dean of the law school. Parkinson’s Disease forced his retirement from LLS in 2013.
Ken was known for his intelligence, wit, and his gentle heart (evidenced by his weekend trips to the LLS campus to feed the stray felines), and for his unerring palate when recommending wines from every appellation.
He became an active participant in Rock Steady Boxing in 2016, working out every week with his fellow PD boxers at the Kaizen studio in Monrovia.
He passed peacefully in his Altadena home, lovingly tended by his wife of 31 years, Marilyn Delanoeye, and in the company of his two cats and many friends.