Gordon F. VanOtteren

Lives Lived

Gordon F. VanOtteren, M.D.

Spring 2021
Share Email Print
Text: A

Gordon F. VanOtteren (M.D. 1960) died November 30, 2020, at the age of 84. VanOtteren graduated from Union High School in his hometown of Grand Rapids. After medical school at the University of Michigan, he served as a physician in the U.S. Army with exceptional duty and honor.

VanOtteren practiced medicine in Grand Rapids and dedicated his life to his patients and to his family. He was deeply devoted to his wife of 55 years, Helen, who preceded him in death.After she was diagnosed with rheumatoid arthritis, he supported her through multiple joint replacements and other surgeries. The couple expanded their home with an indoor pool and hot tub, where, for many years, they hosted members of the Grand Rapids Arthritis Foundation for weekly swimming and socializing. The couple also supported the Grand Rapids Symphony.

Although the number of VanOtteren’s patients decreased in the last few years, he never fully retired. “He practiced medicine up until the day he walked into the hospital, and even tried to practice medicine while he was in the hospital,” says his son David. He was glad to have a clear mind in his final days as he made medical decisions for himself and advised others from his hospital bed.

VanOtteren was a proud supporter of the U-M Medical School and athletics program and had an avid, lifelong passion for U-M football and basketball. He could often be seen wearing his Michigan bowtie.

VanOtteren is survived by his two brothers, Gay VanOtteren (A.B. 1953) and Gerard L. VanOtteren (B.S. Des. 1956), as well as his children, Jeffrey Scott, JoLynne (B.S.N. 1983), and David (B.S. 1987).

This obituary is based on an interview with David VanOtteren and an obituary published in the Grand Rapids Press.