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Charlotte P. Otis 1925-2021


Charlotte P. Otis, 96, died peacefully at her Williamsburg home on September 21st. Charlotte was born January 11, 1925, in Williamsburg, the daughter of Charles Preston and Carrie (Bennett) Otis. A graduate of Williamsburg High School and the former Cooley Dickinson Hospital School of Nursing, she later earned BS and MS degrees in nursing from Catholic University of America and UMass, Amherst, respectively, where she also became a member of the Sigma Theta Tau and Pi Gamma Mu honor societies for nursing and the social sciences.


Charlotte joined the U.S. Army Cadet Nurse Corps during World War II and later served as a First Lieutenant in the Army Nurse Corps with postings in Washington, D.C., Fort Hood, Texas, and Fort Carson, Colorado. She worked as a staff nurse and head nurse at the Cooley Dickinson Hospital and the former Garfield Memorial Hospital in Washington, D.C., and as a Public Health Nurse in Washington, D.C., and with the Springfield Visiting Nursing Association, where she was a field teacher for students at the UMass School of Nursing. At the Cooley Dickinson Hospital School of Nursing, she advanced from instructor to Assistant Director to Director, a position she held until the school closed in 1975.


Charlotte had deep pride in the nursing profession and was an active member of the American Nurses Association and the National League for Nursing. In the early 1950s she played a leading role in bringing Black Registered Nurses into the District of Columbia Nursing Association and the hospital workplace. She later served on the boards of both the Williamsburg and Northampton Visiting Nurse Associations.


Charlotte was a longtime member of the Williamsburg and Haydenville Congregational Churches and the Friends of the Williamsburg Libraries. She enjoyed classical music, gardening, bird watching, snowshoeing, walking, and regular visits to Cape Elizabeth, Maine, and was an avid fan of UConn women's basketball , the Boston Red Sox, and the New England Patriots.

Charlotte is predeceased by her sisters Marjorie Otis and Catherine O. Merritt; brothers Robert B. Otis and Donald W. Otis; longtime friend Virginia C. Daggett, who shared her home for 38 years; her niece Susan O. Richardson; and nephews Robert P. Otis and John O. Merritt. She is survived by her sister-in-law Virginia L. Otis, with whom she shared many youthful adventures; nephews and nieces Philip C. Merritt, Nancy E. Merritt, Kathleen O. Waldo, Carol O. Jules, Donald L. Otis, John B. Otis, and Katherine A. Marsh; and many dear friends.


The family wishes to thank Laura Davenport and Kenley Clark for their steadfast friendship and affection for Charlotte, Mary Ellen Prince for her expertise and dedication to Charlotte's care, and all of Charlotte's devoted caregivers. In lieu of flowers, please consider giving to the Cooley Dickinson VNA & Hospice or the Williamsburg Libraries. Williamsburg Funeral Home was entrusted with her cremation. A memorial gathering for Charlotte will be held at a later date. www.HampshireCremation.com

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