Otto Heinz Klittich (1930-2022)

Otto Heinz Klittich (1930-2022)

Otto Heinz Klittich was born August 15th 1930 and passed away October 20th 2022 at the age of 92. He was born in New York where his family was trying to immigrate to the US. At the age of 4 he was sent back to Germany for health reasons to live with his grandparents. His parents came to Germany in 1939 to bring him back to the US but were unable to return because of the beginning of World War II. Otto’s father was conscripted for the war and was never seen again.
Times were challenging in Germany after the war and when Otto was 18, he decided to use his US citizenship and move to Illinois where he had an uncle that had a greenhouse operation. He left his uncle’s employment to work at Electro-Motive a company that built locomotive engines. He also did Landscaping on the side when the weather permitted.
When he was 20, he went with his friend Wally to a local café for dinner. A talkative waitress named Jeanne brought them their dinners and sat down to join them while they ate. The evening got late and she missed her trolley home. Otto offered to drive her home. Along the way, he invited her to a party the next night at Wally’s place. They went to the party and during the night he leaned over and asked her if she would marry him! She said YES! It was love at first sight. Jeanne was 17.
Soon after he was drafted into the army and sent to Korea. While in Korea he had a number of harrowing experiences. One of which earned him a Purple Heart.
While recovering in California he realized that this was a good place to do horticulture. Once release from active service he returned to Illinois and married Jeanne on July 11th 1953. He then moved to California and started Landscape by Otto that served the Los Angeles area.
While landscaping he would collect plants and slowly built a nursery. In 1976 he moved to nursery work full time. They needed a larger space to grow and they rented a property in Sylmar. Still looking to expand they found a 38-acre property in Fillmore.
Over the years all 4 boys worked in landscaping and then the nursery and for one reason or another left to pursue other endeavors. Their 3rd son Scott, returned after college to work in the nursery and took over managing the nursery in 1988. This gave Otto and Jeanne an opportunity to retire and travel to pursue a hobby of his that he never made time for, Precision Bench Rest Shooting.
Otto and Jeanne traveled across the country following shooting matches for over a decade. At one point he was ranked in the top 25 shooters in the US. He was passionate about his sport and made many lifelong friends along the way.
Otto passed away quietly at home with family and friends nearby on October 20, 2022. The family would like to thank the VA for all the excellent care and service that they gave to Otto. There were many caregivers who gave Otto love and support throughout the last few years and we truly appreciate them.
Otto is survived by Jeanne, his wife of 69 ½ years, and their 4 sons, Bob, Bill (Carla), Scott (Cindy), and Karl. Grandchildren: Jeff (Luanna), Kenny, Kristen (Matt), Mena, Danny (Steffani), Andy (Pam), Timmy, and Kayla. Great-Grandchildren: Ethan, Alice, Inez, Bennet, Chase, Luke, Abigail, and Doris.
Otto was never one for funerals but he did like a good party with good beer and German food. The family honored him with just that and many memories were shared and a few made.
If you are inclined to make a donation in his name, woundedwarriorproject was always their favorite charity. His life story and photos are available at - where you could leave a message or memory. A celebration of life is planned for November 12th at 3pm in The Garden at Otto & Sons Nursery, 1835 E. Guiberson Rd, Fillmore.