Jobe "Jay" Thomas Ott

April 13, 1932 to August 25, 2012

A beloved brother, husband, father, grandfather, great grandfather, attorney and philanthropist passed away August 25, 2012 at Jackson Hospital, surrounded by his family and following a lengthy illness.. Jay was born in Sylacauga, AL on April 13, 1932 to Major Lee and Bethane Burleson Ott. He was predeceased by his parents and his brother Lee Ott. He is survived by his sisters Betty Ott Cobb (Buddy) and Bonnie Ott Wallace and many nieces and nephews.Jay grew up in Montgomery and graduated Lanier in 1951, leaving that day for the U.S.M.C. and later to Korea, where he was twice wounded and received the Purple Heart. Upon his return he met Ruth Mitchell and they were married in February 1955. He leaves his devoted wife and two children and their spouses: Catherine Ott Watts and Jim of Panama City, Florida, and Jay Thomas Ott and Karen of Snellville Georgia; his grandchildren Brandon Ott (Carla) and their daughters Caroline and Caitlyn; Rachel Ott and her children, Gavin and Roxy ; Dillon Ott; and Megan Ott Robinson (Cory), all of Georgia; Madeline Watts Franklin (Michael) and their son Cas of Puerto Rico, and James Cody and Nicki Watts of Uganda. Jay graduated Auburn December 1969, earned his Masters in Social Work at the University of Alabama in 1972 and his Juris Doctor at Jones School of Law in 1993. Jay had three careers – 11 years with his family in Major Roofing Company, 26 years in state government with the Welfare Department (Human Resources), and 16 years in private practice with major emphasis on Elder Law. He was active in law until this month. He was also past president of the Montgomery Art Guild, appeared in 13 Little Theater productions, served two terms on the Museum Board, was on the board of MACOA, and a member of the Montgomery Kiwanis Club. He was a kind, compassionate man who was a friend to all he met, and will be greatly missed by so many. A memorial service will be held Tuesday, August 28th, 2:00 o'clock at Leak Memory Chapel with Rev. Paul Turner officiating. Visitation will be one hour prior to the service. Memorials may be made to MACOA or the charity of choice.

Date of Birth: April 13, 1932
High School Graduation: May 1951
Military: USMC Korea - May 1951 to April 1954
Engagement: Ruth Mitchell - October 15, 1954
Wedding: Ruth Mitchell - February 3, 1955
Daughter's Birth: Cathey - December 30, 1955
Son's Birth: Jay - August 21, 1958
College: BS, Sociology, Auburn University - December 1959
College: Master of Social Work, University of Alabama - May 1972
Marriage of Son: Jay to Karen Sledge - 1985
Marriage of Daughter: Cathey to James Watts – 1986
Law School: Juris Doctor, Jones School of Law, 1989 – 1993
Alabama State Bar: 1994
Date of Passing: August 25, 2012

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Papa considered his major accomplishments to be his education and his law practice. He completed B.S. at Auburn commuting the fifty miles over each day and working construction jobs in the afternoon. He was 38 when he graduated. He did his two-year masters program at the University when he was 40. He began law school at 57 and in spite of cancer and open heart surgery completed it at 62.


Retired at 64 and opened his law office. In 16 years he served almost 1000 clients while continuing to fight cancer for the entire time. He did what he set out to do (find a niche and fill it) and he did it beautifully. He was the most positive “glass half full” person I ever met and the doctors were amazed that he fought metastasized melanoma for almost 20 years. He was an inspiration to all who knew him for his dogged determination to overcome and fulfill your highest potential.

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Posted: Aug. 2, 2013Caroline Ott

Papa was a very kind person. He was nice and giving, and he was hard working his whole life. We miss you Papa.


Posted: Mar. 20, 2013Dillon Ott

Papa didn't freak out whenever I broke any of his tools. He made an effort to be patient. He taught me not to worry about grades, but to learn how to apply materials to myself. D's can get degrees. I admire both Grandmere and Papa for building their own house. I also admire how giving they both have been to the community, and for not living a luxurious wealthy life. I respect Papa for enduring the violence he experienced in Korea, then coming home and not letting it destroy him. He is a man worthy of respect because of the example he set.

I Miss You

Posted: Mar. 06, 2013Megan Ott

Oh Papa, I miss him so much; his zest for life, his love for his family, friends, and work. I will always remember Papa smiling and laughing.
Papa taught me education is important and that knowledge is power. So know Papa, even though i didn't finish college, I am always trying to read and retain any information i get my hands on. Another thing I won't forget is him calling us grandkids "doe doe brains" when we did something stupid, ha, I mean it was more towards Dillon and Cody ha. Hey, Papa was probably right about that!
Anytime I see a walker(tractor) I will always think of Papa. I remember when I was little, riding on Papa's lap around the property, man i thought I was so cool. Pretty much any outside work like cutting bushes or picking a fig tree, I will always think of Papa. He loved working around the house and yard I tell ya. I miss you Papa and love you so much!


Posted: Feb. 22, 2013Brandon Ott

This may sound a bit odd, but every time I sweep, especially outside, I think about Papa. Some time in my earlier years I recall Papa schooling me on my skills with the broom. Like most kids, I was impatient and would generally scatter stuff everywhere and stir up dust. I was creating more work for myself. He showed me how to do it slow and gently, allowing me to do a better job in a fraction of the time. To this day, I think about that every time I pick up a broom.

Proper Hammer Etiquette

Posted: Feb. 22, 2013Brandon Ott

Anyone that ever worked on a construction project with Papa has heard this one. Us amateurs would take several good swings to fully drive a nail into any board. Papa would loving mock us and say "Hit it! Don't make love to it".


Posted: August 27, 2012B.J. Hutter, Montgomery, Alabama

Mrs. Ott and family,
I am so sorry to hear of your loss. Jay was a great man with an incredible smile and heart! May the good Lord give you peace and comfort and know that our prayers and thoughts are with you today.


Posted: August 27, 2012Steve Nelson

Thank you for letting me be part of such a special family! Love you all!


Posted: August 27, 2012Joyce Guthrie, Montgomery, Alabama

Jay, or "Papa" - as he was known to most anyone who was a part of his and Ruth's extended family - was a wonderful, kind man with a heart of gold and an iron backbone. You always knew where you stood with him...he was as constant as the Northern Star, strong and tough when needed, yet wise enough to know when to be gentle. He shared his life, his wisdom and his love of life with any and all who were lucky enough to meet him.
I consider myself and my family to have been among the luckiest folks in the world to have spent time with him and his family throughout these past three decades.
Love you, will be sorely missed. And, because I know you so well, this is for you - Semper Fi!


Posted: August 27, 2012Jim Zeigler, Mobile, Alabama

You've heard the term "gentleman and a scholar." Jay Ott was a gentleman and a lawyer. He helped many older folk and their families.


Posted: August 27, 2012Ricki Smith

Ruth and Little Jay, I am so sorry for your loss. Jay was a wonderful man and a great influence in my life. He taught me so much about so many things while i was work for him. He taught me about life and death. We would have long talks when he was in and i cherrish those moments for every. He touch my life and gave me a chance. You and little Jay have been in and still are in my prayers.Prayers for peace and comfort in your time of sorrow. Love yall very much!


Posted: August 28, 2012Elvi Perez, Geneva

Dear all, from across the ocean I want to convey my deepest sympathy to all of you. I will always remember Jay as the loving and gentle adoptive Dad who received me with a wide smile and plenty of ideas to share when I arrived in Montgomery in 1973. My thoughts and prayers are with Mum, Jay, Cathey and all their children so that they can cope with this sad loss.


Posted: August 28, 2012Cathy Malone, Eclectic, Alabama

I met J Ott about 2 years ago. I was caring for my parents who each had severe strokes at home & working full time for 4.5 years. I was exhusted mentally, physically and on the verge of a nervous break down at the thought of putting them in a nursing home. He helped me get them in a good nursing home. He started helping me even before I paid him a dime. He said he could handle any problem I was worried about. He was so worried about me when we met he told me to call him anytime day or night. He lifted my Burdens and gave me HOPE and PEACE. He was Truly a Blessing to many people. I will miss him dearly but he has truly earned his place in Heaven. May God comfort his family and friends.


Posted: September 14, 2012Crystal Brown, Tallassee, Alabama

I am so sorry to hear of the loss of Jay Ott. I worked for him and he was one of the greatest men I have ever met. He will be missed.


Posted: October 01, 2012Amanda Nobles, Tallassee, Alabama

I am so sorry for you loss of Mr. Jay Ott. I just want to say that he was one of the finest and kindest people I ever met. A genuinely good person. He will greatly be missed. I enjoyed working for him in his law practice, he taught me a lot.

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Never Ever Give Up!

Unless you're the lead dog, the view never changes...

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  • Self Biography by Jobe "Jay" T. Ott

    Papa had the foresight to write a little of his life story down over the past several years. The following is an excerpt and a link to the entire document follows.
    One would definitely be when I marched across the parade ground at Parris Island and knew that I had made it through with honor. The day I married Ruth ranks high and also the day we opened Major Roofing Company and we knew we actually had our very own company. Of course the births of both children were great but Jay was probably the most enjoyed. With Cathey we had been into this for 30+ hours, I was trying to study for my Auburn classes at the hospital, and had passed out and was sleeping deeply when they came through and said “Mr. Ott, you have a little girl.” It took me a while to wake up and realize that she was really here and I had to wait several hours until they opened the nursery curtains to see her again. I had convinced everyone, including Ruth, that this baby was a boy, but I was so happy she was safe. Once I saw that sweet little face I was a goner, and she has been “my girl” ever since. It was so different with Jay. Ruth’s water broke at breakfast – surely interrupted that meal, we went to the doctor at 10:00, he sent us to the hospital about 11:30, I sat with Ruth and talked with her until late afternoon, she popped into hard labor about 5:00 o’clock and Jay arrived at 5:50. Ruth was back awake at 7:00 and ready to go home long before they released her the next week. As I said, this time I was wide awake and mighty excited to get that boy. Funny how it works out. Although he and I are close and loving, he is really Ruth junior. We also had several exciting moments during my health ordeals, mostly when they would say “you are fine”. Of course I was ecstatic when I passed the bar and the day I was sworn in as an attorney and knew I had realized my dream. Jay Ott, fall of 2010

  • “Other

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