Otis Bough

September 26, 1926 - February 15, 2013
Martinsville, IN





Monday, February 18, 2013
4:00 PM to 8:00 PM EST
Neal & Summers Funeral and Cremation Center
110 E. Poston Road
Martsinville, IN 46151
(765) 342-8439



Tuesday, February 19, 2013
11:00 AM EST
Neal & Summers Funeral and Cremation Center
110 E. Poston Road
Martinsville, IN 46151
(765) 342-8439


Life Story / Obituary


Through the life he lived each day, Otis Bough inspired us with his music, with his tireless work ethic, and with his passionate spirit, but his lasting legacy will both be his unwavering faith and unending love for his family. He was the sort of man whom everyone gravitated to, bringing the sparkle into life wherever he was. Music, church, and family were integral parts of his life, and Otis was equally devoted to all three. He brought smiles and laughter to countless others through his music, and people never could get enough of his “coat joke” either. The ultimate prankster and unforgettable storyteller, talented performer, and genuine kid at heart, Otis was truly an extraordinary man to know and love.

It seems only fitting that Otis was born during the decade that was as colorful as he was - the Roaring Twenties when Broadway, jazz music, and baseball were all the rage. Born in Scotland, Indiana, on September 26, 1926, Otis was one of four children born to his parents, Henry and Nellie (Dove) Bough, and was raised in the family home alongside his brothers, Raymond and Harold, and his sister, Betty.

As the prosperity of the 1920s gave way to the hardship of the 1930s due to the unrelenting grip of the Great Depression, the Bough family was not immune to the trying times. Otis’s father worked hard doing whatever he could to make ends meet, and like many other young children of his generation Otis was expected to earn his keep and pitch in. He dropped potatoes in the ground to establish new crops, and he also did a few odds and ends as he got older to earn a little extra spending money. While living on the farm in Greene County throughout most of the thirties, Otis went hunting with his father, Henry, and their coon dogs many a night, earning thirty cents for a rabbit pelt and up to 20 dollars for a fox pelt. They even snared one hundred rabbits on one occasion and two foxes on another. Money was scarce for Otis and his family, but there was always food on the table. He continued to work hard as a teen including for ten hours straight for ten cents an hour plus lunch.

When he was a freshmen in high school, Otis and his family moved to Burn City, Indiana, where he continued to attend local schools, playing basketball for a time. They later moved to Scotland, and Otis graduated from high school in 1944. Shortly thereafter, he enlisted in the Army, serving in the Philippines as a tech 5 and corporal in Company F 6th Ranger Infantry. Otis honorably served from December 2, 1944, until November 21, 1946.

Not to be forgotten during Otis’s years as a young man was his introduction to the woman of his dreams. Her name was Mary Byrd, and they met at a basketball game. They dated for awhile, but they soon had to correspond through letters while Otis was in the service. Not long after he returned home from the military, Otis married his sweetheart on December 2, 1946. They were blessed with the birth of their first child, Nancy, in 1947, and moved to Kankakee, Illinois, where Otis attended Olivet Nazarene University. He also spread his love for the Lord as a singing evangelist, including on Skid Row in Chicago. By 1950 their family had grown to include three more children, Richard, Janie, and Cathy. Although Otis worked tirelessly to provide for his family, which meant two or three jobs at times, they moved to Martinsville, Indiana, in 1959 where he found more stable work in the paint industry and later in working for Blue Cross Blue Shield.

Life in the Bough home was always a bustle of activity. Otis was a loving and devoted father who expected his children to respect others and the church. They were members of First Church of the Nazarene in Martinsville where Otis was very involved in both youth ministry and singing. To this day his children have fond memories of singing with Daddy in church. Extended family was important to Otis, too, and Thanksgiving and Christmas were always shared with family for several years. He was a father figure to his nieces and nephews as well. Music and singing were daily events in the Bough household as Otis would grab his guitar and sit on the porch to play for his family and neighbors who gathered around. He passed his passion for music on to his children and extended family members as some share his same love for performing to this day.

Otis’s love for music was his lifelong companion. It was in his rural Greene County community that he first picked up a guitar. Throughout his life Otis touched countless lives with his sweet, melodious voice and charming wit, performing at venues such as, the Little Nashville Opry House in Indiana and the Martinsville Area Senior Center with the “Tune Tossers.” After retiring from Blue Cross Blue Shield as a building supervisor in 1988, he and Mary got a place in Florida where they spent their winters. Otis continued to entertain there in numerous Central Florida retirement communities. As members of the Good Sam’s Camping Club, he and Mary traveled to parks all over the Midwest where Otis pulled together a band and created shows. Old time southern gospel was his favorite genre of music.

Along his life’s journey Otis was never one to be still. In addition to keeping busy with his music after he retired, he spent his summers in Indiana working as an inspector for Bob Curry & Associates. Otis had been attending Zions Hill Baptist Church in Martinsville and was a member of the Martinsville V.F.W. #1257 and a past member of the American Legion Post #230. He continued to hunt and fish, and he loved basketball, too, considering himself to be one of Scotland’s best players. Otis enjoyed watching westerns and shows about WWII, and traveling to Washington, D. C. to see the WWII monument was a highlight.

Someone who will be remembered for his warm disposition, quick wit, and unconditional love, Otis Bough was a gift to all who were within his reach. He was a man of character who could be stern in an old fashioned sense, yet his heart was as big as they come. Otis was a true patriot, devoted family man, and servant of God whose legacy will be carried on by those who follow him.

Otis Lee Bough died on Friday, February 15, 2013. Otis’s family includes his three daughters, Nancy (husband, Bill) Fortier of Bloomington, Jane (husband, Joe) Proctor of Brownsburg and Cathy (husband, Roger) Gregg of Elwood; son, Richard Bough of Martinsville; brother, Harold Dean Bough of Martinsville; eight grandchildren, Robbie Elliott, Nikki (Elliott) Helton, Crystal (Bough) Atkins, Ricky Bough, Wendy (Wolfla) Pigors, Ryan Wolfla and Noah & Jeremiah Gregg; 3 step grandchildren; 13 great-grandchildren; 7 step great-grandchildren and 3 great great grandchildren . Otis was preceded in death by parents; wife, Mary Ellen Bough on April 15, 2011; brother, Raymond Bough; sister, Betty Minks; and one great-granddaughter, Mariah Elliott. Family and friends will celebrate his life and the happiness he brought to others during services at Neal & Summers Funeral and Cremation Center in Martinsville with a visitation on Monday, February 18th from 4-8:00 p.m. and on Tuesday, February 19th from 10-11 a.m. and a service on Tues., Feb. 19th at 11:00 a.m. Burial with military graveside honors will follow in New South Park Cemetery in Martinsville. Contributions may be made in lieu of flowers to the U.S. Wounded Soldier Foundation, 1170 Preston Road, Ste. 660, Dallas, TX 75230. Please visit www.nealandsummers.com where you can leave a memory.