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Otto calling it a career

May 29, 2004|By WANDA T. WILLIAMS

Frederick F. Otto's career spans nearly six decades.

"I don't understand why people want to retire after 30 years," Otto said. "Now, I can't wait to retire."

Otto, 79, is retiring as executive director of the Washington County Commission on Aging. His last day will be Sept. 30.

Otto already has a few boxes packed and stacked neatly in the corner of his office.

"There's more in the conference room next door," he said, pointing from across his desk at his office on Public Square in Hagerstown.

Otto, the commission's third director, said he accepted the position on an interim basis in August 1989. At the time, he recently had retired as the dean of continuing education at Hagerstown Junior College after 29 years.

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"I was just invited to come and help out until they found somebody," Otto said. He officially was offered the job six months later in January 1990.

"Somehow, they urged me to stay on," Otto said.

That was 15 years ago, and co-workers say his hands-off management style will be missed.

"He's easy to work with and he lends guidance when needed," said Janet Shillingberg, director of finance.

Shillingberg, who's been with the commission for 25 years, said Otto brought a wealth of experience to the job.

Otto said he'll leave the commission proud of the organization's commitment to assisting seniors in living independently and with dignity through the help of 32 different Washington County programs.

"We have nutrition programs at seven sites where seniors come together for nutrition, socialization, education and to remain socially connected," he said.

Otto said he'll use retirement as a chance to spend more time at home with his wife and visiting his children and grandchildren. He said he also plans to do some writing and he'll continue to offer his services to local planning and development projects.

According to Shillingberg, an internal search committee currently is revising the executive director's job description. She said no date has been set to fill the position.

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