OTTO JOHN ZUHLKE
SEPTEMBER 14, 1920
FEBRUARY 06, 2014
A Funeral Service is scheduled for Wednesday, February 12, 2014 at 10am at Clearlake First Baptist Church on 1640 Minnie street in Cocoa, Florida, followed by Military honors graveside at Evergreen Memorial in Cocoa.
Friends may call at Island Cremations Funeral Home in Merritt Island on Tuesday from 6-8pm.
Otto John Zuhlke was born on September 14, 1920, in Neligh, Nebraska.
When he was a child, his mother moved the family to Warsaw, Missouri,
a quiet small town where Otto grew to become an outstanding man.
With the world becoming embroiled in war, Otto enlisted with the US
Navy in 1940 and was trained as a Pharmacist Mate. He was one of the
first men stationed at the newly opened Banana River Navel Air Station
(now Patrick Air Force Base) in 1941. While visiting Cocoa Baptist
Church, he met young Ora Mae Cowart who was then in high school.
Otto served aboard the USS Hermitage, a troop transport that circled
the globe, and on the USS Vigilance, a minesweeper in the Pacific. He
was awarded the Bronze Star medal of valor for his distinguished
service in battle when he saved the lives of 21 men. After WWII
ended, Otto was stationed at the Pensacola Navel Air Station in
Florida, where he thought to revisit Cocoa in search of Ora Mae. They
married in 1946 and began their lifelong story of love and dedication
to one another.
The navy moved the young couple to Virginia and then to Key West,
Florida, where their first son, John Joseph (“Johnny”), was born in
January of 1949. From there Otto was drafted over to the US Marines
Corp and sent to Camp LeJeune on his way to the Asia Pacific, where he
would serve for the duration of the Korean war. As a sign of respect
in the military, he was addressed as “Doc”, a nickname that would stay
with him the rest of his life.
After the war he rejoined his family and was stationed in Mississippi, then
Virginia, before being called up to the USS Henley destroyer. While he
was at sea in 1958, his second son, James Louis (“Jimmy”), was born.
Doc retired from military service as a Senior Chief Hospital Corpsman
in 1960. Only three years later, the exceptionally brilliant Doc
graduated with highest honors from the University of Florida College
of Pharmacy. The family returned to Cocoa where, over the course of
four decades, Pharmacist Doc greeted the community he served with
warmth and genuine care, first from Liggett’s Rexall Drug Store, then
Fulmer’s Drug Store, then Campbell’s Drug Store, and finally at
5-Points Pharmacy until retiring at 83 years of age.
Doc will be remembered as a man of honor who kept his word and walked
in integrity. He was a great husband, father, grandfather, brother,
and uncle. He was a friend to many. He was a good man. On February
6, 2014, Otto Zuhlke went into the loving arms of God and his dear Ora
Mae. He will surely be missed.
Otto John Zuhlke, age 93, is preceded in death by his mother ,Otillia
Lizetta Theadora Vossberg; his father, Emil Arnold; his sister,
Esther; brother, Louis; and his beloved wife, Ora Mae. He is survived
by his sons Johnny and Jimmy, his grandchildren JoAnn Dawn and John
Joseph Jr., and his great-granddaughter Hannah Maelee.