July 11, 1946 – November 19, 2021
Lincoln — Wayne K. “Gus” Otto, 75, of Lincoln, passed away on Friday, November 19, 2021, at OSF St. Joseph Hospital in Bloomington.
Visitation will be held at Peasley Funeral Home on Tuesday, November 30, 2021, from 6:00 p.m. – 8:00 p.m.
A Celebration of Life will begin at 11:00 a.m. on Wednesday, December 1, 2021, at the Jefferson Street Christian Church in Lincoln.
Burial with military rights and Honor Guard will be at Camp Butler National Cemetery in Springfield on Thursday, December 2, 2021, at 10:00 a.m.
Wayne Kenneth Otto was born July 11, 1946, in Wausau, Wisconsin, the son of Harvey John Otto and Mary Louise (Nugent) Otto. The day he was born, the nurses in the hospital referred to him as “Gruntin’ Gus”, and the nickname “Gus” stuck. Gus was united in marriage to Nancy Kay Sparks on May 19, 1979, at the Lincoln Christian Church. She survives.
Gus is also survived by three daughters: Shannon (Chad) Lockhart of Beaumont, TX, Amber (David) Brainard of Lincoln, and Heather Otto (Joe Archer) of Oceanside, CA; two grandchildren: Zachary Wayne Engelmann and Teaghan Jolane Archer; one sister: Karen (Bill) Cole and many, many nieces and nephews.
He was preceded in death by his parents and his best buddy and loyal canine companion, Gustopher Begley.
Gus moved to Lincoln his sophomore year and graduated from Lincoln Community High School in 1964. Although he was not yet 18, with his parents’ authorization he immediately enlisted into the United States Marine Corps. Gus proudly served our country during the Vietnam War and would still say it was his greatest honor. He was a lifelong member of the VFW and former Commander of Lincoln Post 1756 Cronin Brothers Post from 1970-1971 and again from 1979 – 1980.
When Gus returned home from Vietnam, he held positions at various businesses including Pittsburg Plate & Glass, Myers Industries, Lincoln City Police, and General Manager at Frank’s Oldsmobile GMC. In the late 60’s and early 70’s, he owned and operated the bars, Sugar Shack and Gus & Dan’s. While working, he pursued a degree in Contractual Law at Lincolnland Community College and then Sangamon State University.
Gus started working at Caterpillar in 1978 – a factory job that evolved into an IT career and a relationship that would span more than 30 years. He was considered a true visionary in research & development and had early involvement in bringing video streaming and conferencing technology to the world. In 2000, he was recognized as one of the top 100 IT leaders in the world, and in 2001, he received honors and an award for being considered one of the top 10 IT leaders in the world.
Even though Gus fell in love with the “computer world”, he remained true to his first love… pool. He was known as a “legendary” pool player who, in earlier years, traveled the country shooting pool. In later years, he got a lot of joy from mentoring the younger players and passing on what he referred to as his “legacy”. He held membership in both the American Pool Association and Billiard Congress of America. He was the BCA league operator in Logan County from 2007 – 2013. Along with his wife, Nancy, and long time friend, Dave Bixler, Gus owned Legends Billiards Bar from 2007-2010. Following that, Gus owned and operated Pool Hall Junkies – an elite pool club intended to provide a space for serious pool players to perfect their game and foster more positive relationships.
Gus lived in Lincoln for most of his life. He and his family relocated to Morton in 1989 and then to New Holland in 1990. He served as Mayor, Chief of Police and Justice of the Peace in New Holland from 1996-1999 before returning to Lincoln.
Gus was firmly planted in his Christian faith and was led to become an ordained minister in 2013. It was through this process that Gus reaffirmed his relationship with God.
Gus spent his golden years enjoying nature, taking regular trips to the parks around Lincoln with his wife and dog. He also enjoyed feeding the squirrels and birds, researching everything online, any time spent with his family, trying new restaurants and “stirring the pot” on Facebook.
Gus truly appreciated life and everyone who came into his.
In lieu of flowers, the family asks that you bring any photos to share and stories to write down so the memories of Gus continue to live on.
Memorials may be made to Gus’s family.
Final arrangements are entrusted with Peasley Funeral Home of Lincoln.
Pallbearers for the services: Joe Archer, David Brainard, Zach Engelmann, Vince Long, Jim Norman, and Dustin Tibbs. Honorary Pallbearers: Dave Bixler, Bill Cole, Mark Humbert, Chad Lockhart, Gary Sparks, and Tom Sparks.