Richard J. Otolski Obituary – South Bend Tribune

Richard Otolski died at his home in Pleasanton, Calif., on Wednesday, August 31, 2022, at the age of 82.

The world is blessed to have known a kind-hearted gentleman with a one-of-a-kind sense of humor and a true passion for baseball. He was always quick with a smile, a joke, or a “Seinfeld” quote for any occasion…many of which were repeated often over the decades. He was the best father anyone could have. He had a strong work ethic, an appreciation for music and history, a talent for photography, and a self-proclaimed talent for remembering trivial facts. He had a soft spot in his heart for animals and children; many summers have been spent entertaining neighborhood kids in the backyard pool by posing as the “water monster” or coaching the infamous “underwater karate team” (acting often as a child, himself!).

His parents, Benedict Otolski and Valentine (Grabarek) Otolski welcomed Richard as their first child on January 16, 1940 in South Bend, IN. His younger brother, Bob, arrived two years later. Richard (also known to family and friends as Dick, Rick, or “Wacky Uncle Dick”) attended St. Stanislaus Catholic Church for elementary/middle school and graduated from high school central in 1957. Among his favorite childhood memories was sports with his neighborhood. friends, as well as going to Chicago with his parents and brother for theater performances or White Sox games in old Comiskey Park.

He graduated from Ball State University in Muncie, IN in 1961. A member of the Sigma Phi Epsilon fraternity, he was also heavily involved in student government and campus activities: 1960-61 Student Executive Council (SEC) President, 1959-1960 Vice President and Public Relations Commissioner of the SEC, member of the Blue Key Men’s Honorary and served as its treasurer his senior year. Among other activities early in his college career, he played football his freshman year for the Ball State Cardinals.

Shortly after college, he was drafted into the United States Army, stationed at Ford Ord in Monterey, California for basic training followed by a reserve assignment.

He began his career at Proctor and Gamble, which allowed him to travel and explore much of the United States. He then excelled in sales as regional manager of the Chicago area of ​​Bell & Howell, then promoted to national sales manager for Canon products in 1971. He joined Sherman Clay & Company in California in the mid-1970s, where he spent most of his career. Although he had limited piano skills, his strong sales and management acumen earned him numerous awards and accolades.

Living in Southern California in the mid-1960s, he married Carol Wilkinson in 1965. They welcomed their only child, daughter Susan Lynn Otolski in 1966 in Long Beach, California. They moved to Moraga, California in 1972 and purchased their first home in 1973, where they lived until the late 1990s. Richard took pride in his home and supported his family, serving the community as a as a member of the Moraga Kiwanis Club, teaming up with Carol for the Tuesday night “Spouse and Louse” Husband and Wife Bowling League and enjoying dozens (if not hundreds) of epic nights with their Moraga friends.

He moved to Pleasanton, California in 1999, then “met his match” with girlfriend Mary Splane in 2005. Together they enjoyed 17 years of happiness, laughter, Giants games, restaurants, concerts, theater, trips and family celebrations with her dog “Rocky”, and Mary’s children and their families – Mike Splane from San Francisco and Lake Tahoe, the Bongiorno family from San Antonio, TX and the Weiss family from Dublin, THAT.

His love of baseball lasted most of his life, which he passed on to his daughter Susan by taking her to Giants games, buying her hot dogs and teaching her how to keep score during her youth…all of it led her to her more than 25 year career in professional baseball. Together they enjoyed minor league games, Chicago Cubs games at Wrigley Field and shared a lifetime of memories with the San Francisco Giants including the 2007 MLB All-Star Game and Gala and the 2010, 2012 and 2014 World Series championship galas and games. and parades. Although he wasn’t much of an autograph seeker, he enjoyed meeting and taking pictures with Baseball Hall of Famers, players, coaches and broadcasters.

Richard is survived by: his daughter, Susan Otolski of Foster City, California; nieces Laura Otolski (Jamie McCarthy), Kerry Otolski (TJ Shanoff) and their son, great-nephew Harrison of Evanston, IL; and godson John Simpson of Oakland, California.

A celebration of life will be held at a later date. In lieu of flowers, donations may be made in his memory to Veterans of Foreign Wars ( or the “Junior Giants” program of the San Francisco Giants Community Fund (

Posted on October 05, 2022

Posted in South Bend Tribune

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