The Coastal Post - November, 1996

Otto Walter Reutinger

Otto Walter Reutinger died gently in his sleep at home in Stinson Beach, during the early morning hours of Wednesday, October 23. He was 87 years old and died of natural causes.

He was born in San Diego in 1909, the only son of Swiss/German immigrants to the citrus groves of southern California. After graduating from San Diego High School, he attended the University of New Mexico in Albuquerque, where he earned B.A. and M.A. degrees in English. He also studied at Columbia University in New York, taking time out to act off-Broadway. He pursued further graduate studies at the University of California, Berkeley, where he met his wife, the former Joan Castledine. Following their marriage in 1937, they lived briefly in Berkeley and then returned to the Point Loma area of San Diego for 27 years, except for service time in the U.S. Army during World War II.

During his career, he was a teacher and counselor with the San Diego City Schools and served on the board of the San Diego Symphony. An avid sailor, he also served as chairman of the San Diego Yacht Club Race Committee and as a precinct chair for the Democratic Party. He built a weekend home in Pine Hills, in the mountains east of San Diego, where he raised apples, peaches, cherries and wine grapes. Until retirement, he was active in the Army Reserves, rising to the rank of Lt. Colonel.

In 1969, Joan and he retired and moved to Stinson Beach, where her grandparents had built a home in 1908. They built a new home, designed and constructed by local architect Valentino Agnoli, and joined in the activities of the community. Otto served as president of the Community Center Board and as a member of the Volunteer Fire Department Board and the Emergency Ambulance Corps.

He was an ardent conservationist and life-long birder. Active in the Marin Conservation League and the Mt. Tamalpais Interpretive Association, he wrote and illustrated a guide to the Verna Dunshee trial. He made a valiant but futile stand against the encroachment of Pampas grass in the Golden Gate National Recreation Area. He also served as national membership chair of the Whooping Crane Association and was proud that Stinson Beach had more members than any other city in the nation.

He loved to travel. Joan and he journeyed by car through Mexico on their honeymoon and led many family vacations throughout the western U.S. and to New England. In their retirement, they made numerous trips throughout North America and Europe, where they researched both of their family trees in Switzerland and England. One special adventure was the African safari he undertook alone.

He is survived by Joan, his wife of almost 59 years, his children Martin, Christopher and Annie, his son-in-law Jay Clark, his daughter-in-law Elisa, and his grand-daughters Anna and Eva.

A pot luck celebration of his life is planned for Sunday, November 24, at the Stinson Beach Community Center. The family requests that memorial contributions be sent to either Audubon Canyon Ranch, POB 577, 4900 Highway One, Stinson Beach 94970; 415-868-9244, or West Marin Senior Services, POB 791, Pt. Reyes Station 94956; 415-663-8148.

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