Philip G. Otto
Fortified with the Sacraments of Holy Mother Church, Wednesday, October 19, 2022.
Phil was born in St. Louis, Missouri, the oldest son of Gilbert and Agnes (nee Diekmann) Otto. He married his wife of 58 years, Phyllis (nee Dettermann), on December 28, 1963.
Phil attended St. Stephen’s Parish School, St. Mary’s High School, and received a BBA from Saint Mary’s University. He went on to receive an Executive Business degree from Stanford University. He joined Price Waterhouse and Company, followed by IBM. In 1969 he started his 26 year retail career when he joined the May Department Stores Company, as Director of Electronic Data Processing at Venture Discount Stores. He was named controller of the Kaufmann’s Department Stores division of the May Company (Pittsburgh, PA) in 1973 and in 1976 returned to Venture as Senior Vice President, Finance and Operations and became Executive Vice President, Finance and Administration in 1979. From 1984 to 1986, he was Chairman of the Meier and Frank division of the May Company (Portland, OR). He returned to serve as Venture’s chairman from 1986 to 1990, led the initial public offering of Venture, and was named president, where he remained until his retirement in May 1995.
Following Phil’s official retirement, he spent nearly 8 years as a financial advisor at Buckingham Asset Management. In addition to his retail career, Phil served as Chairman of the Regional Board of the YMCA, was on the board of St. Louis Symphony, and was Past President of the Racquet Club West.
During his life, Phil enjoyed spending time sailing with family, water skiing, snow skiing, and playing tennis, racquetball, paddleball and golf. Phil also had a love of eating dinner out with family and friends.
He is preceded in death by his parents, Gilbert and Agnes, and brother, Don. He is survived by his wife, Phyllis (nee Dettermann), and his three children: Jeff (Patty) Otto, Greg (Natalie) Otto, and daughter Jennifer (Matt) Harbaugh, and by 10 grandchildren: Andrew, Peter, Caroline, Emily, Adam, James, Anna, Patrick, Katie, and Sarah. He is also survived by 3 siblings: Carol Smith, Dick (Pam) Otto, and Trudy (Bob) Wojciechowski and by his sister-in-law, Diane (Bruce) Hellmann, as well as by many nieces and nephews.
Services: Visitation and funeral Mass will be held Saturday, October 29 at St. Anselm Catholic Church at the St. Louis Priory School, 530 South Mason Road, Creve Coeur, MO 63141. Visitation at 10 a.m. with the Mass to follow at 11 a.m. A reception will follow in the Parish Center. All are welcome. In lieu of flowers, contributions to the Society of St. Vincent de Paul at St. Anselm, 530 South Mason Road, Creve Coeur, MO 63141, or a charity of your choice would be greatly appreciated.