JAMES L. OTT

James L Ott, 82, was at home with his heartbroken family, as he quietly slipped from life into death. Because of his strong Christian faith, he left with neither regrets or disappointments about the life he had been given.  He loved his life but did not fear death.

Visitation was held 5:00 p.m. to 9:00 p.m. Tuesday, May 1, 2018 at Ott & Lee Funeral Home in Morton.  Visitation was also held 10:00 a.m. to 11:00 a.m. Wednesday at First Baptist Church Morton.  Services were held at 11:00 a.m. Wednesday at First Baptist Church Morton with burial in Morton Memorial Gardens. Bro. Earl Clark and Bro. Marty Wilson officiated the services.  Arrangements were entrusted to the care of Ott & Lee Funeral Home in Morton.

Jimmie was born on August 16, 1935 in Newton, MS.  He was the son of Mary Elizabeth Ott and Hoye Ott. He was educated in Montgomery, AL and was graduated from Lanier High School.  He attended Ole Miss and received his BS in Pharmacy from Howard College (now Samford University) in Birmingham, AL.

After graduating from pharmacy school Jimmie joined his Uncle Dan and Aunt Lo Ott as a pharmacist at the Ott Drug Company in Morton. Jimmie had so many fond memories of and about Morton growing up as he visited every summer. So, coming to live in Morton was really coming home. 

“Mr. Jimmie”, as he was known around town, was a familiar and faithful fixture at Ott’s Drug Store. He was a pharmacist and later proprietor for over 45 years. Jim and Dr. Alex Gordon were always available for “medical consultation.  Folks from surrounding counties and towns would come to ask “Mr. Jimmie” for advice — aspirin or Paregoric.

He loved Morton and dedicated endless hours to the community.  He served as every officer in every organization in Morton. He was honored to be asked by the Chamber of Commerce to be the chair (Chief Cook and Bottle Washer) of the very successful Bicentennial Celebration of Morton in 1966.  He had so many contributions to the community, one of which was helping establish the Minglewood Country Club. He could be seen on the baseball field as coach for little league or in the announcer’s booth at the high school football games. His constant efforts for downtown Morton saw no bounds. He had a profound vision for Morton. He worked tirelessly to see Morton grow and advance.

Many Mortonians would attest to the fact that Jim Ott was part of the backbone of the modern-era Morton.

Jim was a keen observer of state and local politics.  His concern for our state and country provided a huge platform for long discussions with friends who stopped by for a visit.  This love of politics was formed by his love of history.  Jim so enjoyed talking about WWII, about Hitler, and Winston Churchill. The History Channel was on his television remote’s speed dial.

Jim and his wife, Barbara loved to travel as a couple, but they especially loved travelling with great friends — Dom and Ann Bevalaque, Bro. Earl and Jane Clark and Paul and Modean Cross. Jim’s most favorite destination was Lake Gunnersville, AL. Jim cherished the solitude and beauty of the lake and surroundings. He loved the fellowship of being with friends. 

Most of all Jim loved to laugh.  His infectious humor smoothed over much and added much in so many situations. Jim often quipped “shut up” when he received unsolicited medical advice or fun news he didn’t want to hear — always with that sly smile.   

Jim Ott loved the outdoors.  He was an avid golfer and played at courses across the southeast.  Forest (MS) Country Club course; however, seemed to bring out the worst in Jim! But he loved the game. He had the opportunity to attend the Masters’ Tournament in Augusta, Ga and he loved it. He continued the legacy of the Jimmy Goodwin Memorial Tournament on the MS Gulf Coast. Later in life Jimmie so enjoyed watching golf on TV.

Jim loved his yard. He and Barbara planted, mowed, cut, mulched, nurtured and enjoyed their immaculately kept yard.  He loved “the deck and the fountain”.  He could sit for hours just listening and enjoying. His favorite time of day was late afternoon, being on “the deck”, sitting, looking, listening, bird watching with a small glass of bourbon.  As an avid bird-watcher the birdwatcher’s guide was always close at hand.

Jim was a die-hard Ole Miss Rebel sports fan — no matter the sport. He especially loved the Mississippi State ribbing from his sweet daughter-in-law, Alison.  No “Hail State” in the Ott house and for Jim this cheer usually turned into “Hell State”. 

Jim Ott also professed to be a master domino championship player — just ask his faithful domino players — Bennett Merchant, Danny Rushing and Maurice Stegall.  Even during his long illness, his domino buddies came to the house and played — usually twice a week.

Jim’s foundation and strength came from his love of his Savior, Jesus Christ.  He loved his church and church family at First Baptist Church, Morton. Jim was a theologian and relished the opportunity to discuss with friends “deep” Biblical truths.  He was a deacon and served on numerous committees at the church. Jim was also a valued advisor to every pastor at FBC. He taught Sunday School for over fifty-plus years. Through the years Jim has come to be known as “the cussing Sunday School teacher”. That’s just who he was.

Jim married Barbara Helen Clifford in 1960. Two precious children blessed their family —Angel and Jay. Too soon the sweet family lost their wife and mother.  Barbara Helen died of a heart attack in 1974. Angel was nine years old and Jay was seven.

Jim’s mother, Mary Elizabeth, aka, Grandmother Ott moved to Morton to help Him manage the home and family. But God had more in store for Jim Ott. Angel announced one day, “Daddy, I’ve found our new Mama. Miss Barbara Crotwell is a wonderful teacher at church and will be a fine mother”. 

Jim and Barbara were married in 1976. Their blended family immediately became their true family. Barbara’s children and Jim’s children became Barbara and Jim’s children. The word “step” was never used. Mama and Daddy applied to all four children.  Later grandchildren blessed Jim and Barbara.  Jim became Granddaddy and Barbara became Baba.  Jim so enjoyed the kids — no matter where — inside but especially out of doors. 

Jim was diagnosed with a form of Vasculitis in 2016. Since that time Jim’s life changed drastically.  His mobility was gradually curtailed over time.  He needed assistance for walking whether with his “rollator”, cane or assistant. Yet, until most recently, he would strive to get out to his “deck” to enjoy the sunshine, fountain, birds, Classical music, family and friends. 

Even through all the hardships of sickness, Jim’s attitude never changed.  He faced end of life with quiet dignity.  He knew his Lord and was at peace.  Through it all he still loved to laugh, watch MASH, Everybody Loves Raymond and the History Channel.  Oh, and yes, golf. 

Jim is survived by his wife of 43 years, Barbara Duncan Ott; daughter, Angel Ott of Brandon; son, Jay Ott (Alison) of Brandon; son Steve Crotwell of Morton and son, Kevin Crotwell of Morton.   Barbara and Jim have five grands:  Colby Crotwell, Kaley Crotwell, Hannah Ott, Luke Ott and Cooper Crotwell.

Jim Ott loved his family with all his heart!! 

“At the end, death came as a friend.  Jim left this life as he had lived it — with inward strength, determination, independence, and unblemished integrity of self”. (Borrowed and adapted from another source)