Obituary: Floe M. Otteson Speltz
November 23, 2012
Floe was born in Huntington, Utah, to Ella and Orin Otteson. She was the first of four children. When she was seven years old, her father left the family placing a great deal of responsibility on her. She needed to help care for her younger siblings which she did for the rest of her childhood. Floe’s mother remarried when she was 14, but Floe’s help was still needed. By the time she was an adult, she felt like she had raised a family.
She graduated from North Emery County High School in 1936 and stayed home until her sister Beth graduated. Because Huntington was a small town of a few hundred and the only work was in agriculture and the coal mines, Floe and Beth moved to Salt Lake City to make a living. She loved to dance and could be found at Salt Air and the Rainbow Rendezvous dancing on weekends.
Floe always had a desire to travel and see more of the world. Shortly before WWII she moved to Nashville, Tenn. and worked in a munitions factory. When the war began many civil servants jobs were created to support the military and she found a position as a clerk in San Francisco. She did well as a civilian employee for the military and served in several positions.
At the end of the war, she applied for positions with the army in Japan but there were no openings. However, there were openings in Seoul, South Korea and she transferred at the first opportunity. While there she ran into Captain R. Lee Speltz whom she had met state side. They were married Oct. 11, 1947 and rode around the base in a half-track with “Just Married” banners on the side. Floe no longer worked as a civil service employee and stayed with her husband at all his duty stations. They were with the occupational forces in China and stayed there until the Communists overran the country and forced the Allied forces out.
By this time Lee was a Lt. Colonel and was transferred to Fort Clayton, Canal Zone as the base commander. They had been reunited with Lee’s son, Richard, 13, while stateside. Floe gave birth to her first and only child, Gordon, in 1952. In 1955, the family moved to San Antonio, Texas, where Lee was assigned to Fort Sam Houston.
In 1958, Lee retired from the military and the family moved to Lake Tahoe where they bought a house in Marla Bay, Nev. Floe worked to Contel telephone for 15 years as a customer service representative. Floe was socially active and entertained guests at numerous bridge parties and social gatherings. She was on a bowling team in the ’60s, had her own kiln and produced ceramic works, and was very active in the South Lake Tahoe Garden Club.
After nearly 38 years at Tahoe, Floe and Lee moved to Minden, Nev., to get out of the snow and have a smaller house and yard to take care of. They enjoyed life and took several cruises and stayed in Palm Springs, Calif. for two months each winter. Lee passed away in 2004 and Floe remained in her home until 2011 when she moved in with her son, Gordon. This last summer she moved into a local senior living facility, and she lived there until she passed away peacefully late one evening.
She is survived by her sons, Gordon and Richard; five grandchildren; and nine great-grandchildren. At her request, she did not want any services. The family will have a memorial sometime early next year.