Born June 17, 1961 in Logan, UT, Ann Otteson entered the world with joy and dimples. After two bouncing boys, Paul and David, when her mom was told the new baby was a girl, she said, “Are you sure? Check again!” Later Gwen, Sara, and Lynn completed the family. Ann loved telling people she was a “barter baby” because her dad paid the doctor who delivered her by tutoring his daughter in physics.
Ann’s passion for collecting teddy bears began when she was just 4 years old. Her Grandpa and Grandma Law had taken her by herself up to Washington to visit her Aunt Glenda’s family. Ann had left her teddy bear in the car, and her grandpa ended up making a midnight excursion to retrieve him because Ann was sure the teddy bear was lonely out there. This began an exchange of teddy bears with her grandpa and others as symbols of love.
After some back and forth for schooling in Ann’s early years, her parents finally settled in Smithfield, Utah in 1967. Always near the top of her class, Ann attended Summit Elementary, North Cache Junior High, and Sky View High School. Her balsa bridge building skills earned her top honors two years in a row.
Through high school and college, Ann worked a variety of jobs from line worker at the local Del Monte plant to a talking Christmas tree in the mall. She ended up spending several years working for 7-11, both in Smithfield and Logan. She told many fun stories about her work there and was loved by many. With her amazing memory, she called repeat customers by name and made them feel valued and important.
A die-hard Aggie, Ann earned both her bachelor’s and master’s degrees at Utah State University. Since she was talented in so many areas, Ann had a hard time settling on a major and explored elementary education and computer programming before settling on psychology for her undergraduate degree. Upon earning her master’s degree, she received the Outstanding Graduate in the Master’s On-Campus Rehabilitation Counseling Program.
When she began working in her field, the family felt she had found the perfect career for her which combined her analytical skills with her compassion and love of working with people. Until her health began to fail, Ann excelled at her work. In her first year of her professional career, she earned the “Best of the Best” award from The Utah State Office of Rehabilitation. One year she was chosen to be president of Utah’s association for voc rehab specialists. She cared deeply about the clients she worked with and did her best to help them get the services they needed to progress and find meaningful employment.
Ann showed her compassion in many ways, but gift giving was definitely her love language. She spent hours picking out just the right gift for each occasion. If she knew you collected something, she was on the lookout for that item, whether it be Father Christmases, nativities, or lighthouses. If there was something she loved, she wanted to share it with others. For example, she made sure all her siblings had a copy of A Wish for Wings that Work.
Ann loved to travel. She especially enjoyed the trips she took to see her brother David and his family when they lived in Europe. She enjoyed reminiscing about these trips. Apparently when they were touring, David would wear a red shirt so they knew to look for the big guy in the red shirt if they got lost. When she lived with Chris and Gwen last summer, they had a great time exploring redwoods, visiting the ocean, and enjoying nature in the Sierra foothills.
During her college years, Ann worked a couple of summers in Jackson Hole Wyoming. She loved the area and her relatives there and enjoyed visiting over the years to share it with others by going river rafting and attending Bar J Wrangler concerts.
When Ann was in college, Ann became fast friends with Leeanne Larsen, and that friendship brought her a lot of joy. She looked upon Leeanne’s children and grandchildren almost as if they were her own. When Leeanne lived on a farm, Ann took nieces and nephews out to feed the calves, ride the horses, and play with the animals.
Ann spent many similar hours with her nieces and nephews and loved planning and doing activities with them. Trips to the zoo, the park and the movie theater highlighted her love for them. She often chose to take a niece or nephew as her “plus one” for work parties and looked for opportunities to spend time with them.
A loving and devoted daughter, Ann had a special relationship with both her parents. She and her dad used to go fishing together. While they didn’t bring home many fish, their love for each other was a greater prize. After her dad passed away, Ann became her mom’s travel buddy and chauffeur to Europe, Canada, and many family reunions. They also played LOTS of games. Ann loved to recall that one year they each bought each other the same game, Upwords.
Ann loved her family, and she was a special sister to each of her siblings. When she introduced her younger siblings, she liked to say, “They are younger than me, but I’m still the baby.” Sara and Gwen will always be grateful for the many girls nights out full of laughter and silliness. Lynn loved her despite the fact that she once dressed him up as a visiting teacher, complete with dress, hat, wig and purse. We all love the pictures of Ann as a toddler with David and Paul. The three looked like cherubs holding hands and grinning.
Ann truly loved to laugh and found joy in the little things in life. None who knew her will look at a teddy bear or bottle of Diet Coke without thinking of her. While her recent years were especially challenging health-wise, she genuinely cared about others and would never intentionally hurt anyone. Gradually losing her independence was hard on her, but she was grateful to anyone who helped her out with rides and other needs.
Although Ann wasn’t externally religious for many years, she had grown greatly in her faith in recent years. She loved having the Sacrament at home during the Covid shutdown. She believed in the gospel of Jesus Christ and had faith she would be with our parents and other loved ones again.
Special mention should be made of Ann’s sister Sara for the extra care and attention she has given Ann in recent years. She saved Ann’s life on numerous occasions by getting to her just in time to either get her blood sugar up or to call the paramedics. She took Ann into her home when she could no longer live alone. Last week she valiantly performed CPR and literally brought Ann back from the dead. Although the result was not what anyone wanted, Ann was given all the care currently available until it was beyond doubt that she would never be able to return as herself.
Ann was preceded in death by her parents, Harry and Elna Law Otteson, and her brother-in-law Allen Tidwell.
She is survived by her brothers Paul (Joan) Otteson, David (Theresa) Otteson, and Lynn (Kaycee) Otteson as well as her sisters Gwen (Chris) Merrill and Sara Tidwell plus many loving nieces and nephews.
Funeral services will be held at 10:00 a.m., Saturday, May 22, 2021 at the Orchard 8th Ward, Building, 55 East 350 North, North Salt Lake.
A viewing will be held Friday evening from 6:00 – 8:00 p.m. at Russon Mortuary, 295 North Main, Bountiful and Saturday morning 8:30-9:30 a.m. at the church prior to services.
Interment-Smithfield City Cemetery at 2:00 p.m.
Services will be live streamed on Russon Mortuary & Crematory Facebook page and this obituary page.