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February 25, 2013

Gen. Otis, Plattsburgh native, remembered

CARLISLE, Pa. — Plattsburgh native Gen. Glenn K. Otis, a 1953 West Point graduate and retired four-star general who received  a Silver Star, two Purple Hearts and the Distinguished Service Cross, died Thursday.

Otis, who was born in Plattsburgh in 1929, passed away in Carlisle, Pa., where he lived in recent years. He was 83.

“For 20 years, we kept crossing paths,” said Bill Manning, one of Otis’s friends. “We went to Airborne training at the same time, to Vietnam at the same time, Germany, Korea … we were always very close friends.”

In Vietnam, Otis distinguished himself during the Tet Offensive. In the 1980s, he served as the commander-in-chief of the U.S. Army in Europe.

While Otis and Manning were away with the military, Otis’s wife, Barbara Otis, and Manning’s wife, Nancy Manning, lived in Plattsburgh and would visit one another almost every day, Bill Manning said.

“He was the most humble human being on the earth,” Nancy Manning said.

Otis’s military career lasted 42 years, Barbara Otis said. She said this made it almost  as much her life as it was his.

“It was a very great life,” she said about traveling around the world with her husband. She said she went everywhere with him that she was allowed to go, excluding the times he was activated to Vietnam and Korea.

“Other than that, I was there,” she said.

One of the places the military took them was Germany for 12 years.

“It was a wonderful experience,” she said.

They spent 60 years together. She said it was her husband’s thoughtfulness that set him aside from the rest.

“He always put himself last,” she said.

The Otises and their children, Peter Otis, Caren Otis and Nancee Groh, spent summers in the North Country on Lake Champlain.

“His hometown is his roots,” Caren Otis said.

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