In memory of
Otto John Cerda
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In memory of
Otto John Cerda
Cerda, Otto John 3/22/1926 - 8/13/2019 Kalamazoo, Michigan Otto died on August 13, 2019 in Kalamazoo after an extended struggle with vascular dementia at the age of 93. He was born in Cushing, Oklahoma, on March 22, 1926, one of eight children of Luciano and Juanita (Torres) Cerda. The family emigrated from Mexico, moved north and eventually settled in the Grand Rapids, Michigan, area. Otto met his future wife, Elisabeth (Betty) Sindelar, in Steyr, Austria, while on active duty during WW II. He was part of the Occupation Forces and assigned to the Public Safety Office where Betty worked as an interpreter and translator. The couple was engaged in 1946 and Betty came to the United States under the War Brides Act the following year. They were married in Grand Rapids on August 2, 1947. In 1951 the Cerdas moved to the Portage area where they lived for the next 62 years before moving to Wyndham at the Heritage Community in Kalamazoo. Otto graduated from Grand Rapids Catholic Central High School, attended Grand Rapids Junior College and Aquinas College. He received a BA and MA in Education, Guidance and Counseling from Western Michigan University in 1951. After teaching at Vicksburg, MI, for three years, Otto moved to Portage Central High School where he taught English, Spanish, and Social Studies before becoming a full-time guidance counselor. He was a favorite among his students. Otto retired in 1987 after 33 years with the Portage school system. He was very active in teachers' organizations at the local, state and national level as a member of NEA and MEA. At the PEA level he assisted in the first teacher's contract negotiations. He was a member of the American Personnel & Guidance Association and the Michigan Counsellors Association. Otto was a veteran of World War II, serving with the 26" Infantry Division in Europe. He was awarded two campaign stars, the Combat Infantry Badge and the Bronze Star. In 1974 he retired as a Major from the US Army Reserve 415" Civil Affairs Company in Kalamazoo, MI. He also was a graduate of the five-year Army Command and General Staff College at Fort Leavenworth, KA. Otto and his wife loved to travel, returning annually to Austria, Betty's native country. They both liked camping, hiking and backpacking in the mountains. In his free time he liked to read and keep up on current events. He was a regular golfer and a member of the weekly teachers' bowling league. The family wishes to thank Hospice of SW Michigan for their support during a difficult time. Otto is survived by his wife of 72 years, one sister, a devoted niece, Carol Perschbacher, and her husband, John, as well as his extended family. Cremation was arranged by Avink Funeral Home and Cremation Society in Schoolcraft, MI. Burial will take place at Ft. Custer National Cemetery, Battle Creek, MI at a later date. Those who wish, may make contributions to Hospice of SW Michigan. The family is being served by Avink Funeral Home and Cremation Society Portage Chapel. Please visit www.avinkcremation.com to share a memory with the family.
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Services Provided By
Avink Funeral Home & Cremation Society
5975 Lovers Lane
Portage, MI 49002
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opt312: Original
In memory of
Otto John Cerda
Cerda, Otto John 3/22/1926 - 8/13/2019 Kalamazoo, Michigan Otto died on August 13, 2019 in Kalamazoo after an extended struggle with vascular dementia at the age of 93. He was born in Cushing, Oklahoma, on March 22, 1926, one of eight children of Luciano and Juanita (Torres) Cerda. The family emigrated from Mexico, moved north and eventually settled in the Grand Rapids, Michigan, area. Otto met his future wife, Elisabeth (Betty) Sindelar, in Steyr, Austria, while on active duty during WW II. He was part of the Occupation Forces and assigned to the Public Safety Office where Betty worked as an interpreter and translator. The couple was engaged in 1946 and Betty came to the United States under the War Brides Act the following year. They were married in Grand Rapids on August 2, 1947. In 1951 the Cerdas moved to the Portage area where they lived for the next 62 years before moving to Wyndham at the Heritage Community in Kalamazoo. Otto graduated from Grand Rapids Catholic Central High School, attended Grand Rapids Junior College and Aquinas College. He received a BA and MA in Education, Guidance and Counseling from Western Michigan University in 1951. After teaching at Vicksburg, MI, for three years, Otto moved to Portage Central High School where he taught English, Spanish, and Social Studies before becoming a full-time guidance counselor. He was a favorite among his students. Otto retired in 1987 after 33 years with the Portage school system. He was very active in teachers' organizations at the local, state and national level as a member of NEA and MEA. At the PEA level he assisted in the first teacher's contract negotiations. He was a member of the American Personnel & Guidance Association and the Michigan Counsellors Association. Otto was a veteran of World War II, serving with the 26" Infantry Division in Europe. He was awarded two campaign stars, the Combat Infantry Badge and the Bronze Star. In 1974 he retired as a Major from the US Army Reserve 415" Civil Affairs Company in Kalamazoo, MI. He also was a graduate of the five-year Army Command and General Staff College at Fort Leavenworth, KA. Otto and his wife loved to travel, returning annually to Austria, Betty's native country. They both liked camping, hiking and backpacking in the mountains. In his free time he liked to read and keep up on current events. He was a regular golfer and a member of the weekly teachers' bowling league. The family wishes to thank Hospice of SW Michigan for their support during a difficult time. Otto is survived by his wife of 72 years, one sister, a devoted niece, Carol Perschbacher, and her husband, John, as well as his extended family. Cremation was arranged by Avink Funeral Home and Cremation Society in Schoolcraft, MI. Burial will take place at Ft. Custer National Cemetery, Battle Creek, MI at a later date. Those who wish, may make contributions to Hospice of SW Michigan. The family is being served by Avink Funeral Home and Cremation Society Portage Chapel. Please visit www.avinkcremation.com to share a memory with the family.
View Full Obituary ›
Services Provided By
Avink Funeral Home & Cremation Society
5975 Lovers Lane
Portage, MI 49002
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