Robert Kenneth Otterbourg died Wednesday, Dec. 13, 2017 at The Forest at Duke in Durham, N.C. He was 87. Bob was born in New York City on Jan. 26, 1930, the son of Frances R. and Albert M. Otterbourg. He was preceded in death by his beloved wife of 53 years, Susan Delman Otterbourg, who died in 2011. Bob and Sue were married on April 14, 1957, just a few months after being introduced by a mutual friend, and their love was special and enduring.
Bob was a graduate of Colgate University and the Columbia University School of Journalism. He was a member of the Air Force ROTC, and he served in the Philippines as a second lieutenant during the Korean War.
Bob was a writer, first in newspapers, then in public relations, and finally as an author of books on career-switching and active retirement. He wrote with precision and style and was for many years a contributing writer to The News & Observer of Raleigh and to Kiplinger’s Retirement Report. His memory was amazing, and he loved learning about people and their varied lives.
Bob believed in the importance of helping the community, and he served in leadership positions on numerous nonprofits, first in the New York area, and then in Durham, where he and Sue moved in 1993 after raising their children in Ridgewood, N.J.. These include: The Interracial Council for Business Opportunity, Planned Parenthood of Bergen County, The Urban League of Bergen County, Flat Rock Brook Nature Center, The Durham County Public Library, Triangle Radio Reading Service and Senior Pharmassist. He was also active in the alumni groups of Colgate and Columbia universities.
Bob was an incredible optimist who did not let the stroke he suffered nearly seven years ago slow him down, and he continued to enjoy life in Durham, a city he loved and was proud to call his home. He continued to write, to laugh, to eat well, and to learn. His strength and determination to live life to the fullest were an inspiration to all who knew him.
Bob is survived by his daughter, Laura Otterbourg, of Medford Lakes, N.J. and her husband, Rick Fonorow; a son, Ken Otterbourg, of Winston-Salem, N.C.; a grandson, Sam Otterbourg, of Chapel Hill, N.C. and a step grandson, Dave Fonorow, of La Grange, Ill., and many close friends, particularly Bob Williams, formerly of Pittsboro, N.C. He was also preceded in death this year by his daughter-in-law, JoAnne Vernon.
His family would also like to thank the staffs of Hillcrest Convalescent Center, The Forest at Duke, and Duke Hospice for their care and compassion.
A memorial service will be held at a later date. In lieu of flowers, the family asks that contributions be made to the Durham County Library Foundation, Senior Pharmassist, Triangle Radio Reading Service, or a charity of the donor’s choice.
The Otterbourg family is under the care of Hall-Wynne Funeral Service. Online condolences; www.hallwynne.com; select obituaries.