Zelphia Iva Otto

February 28, 1920 ~ January 8, 2020 (age 99)


Zelphia Iva Otto, age 99, of Olivet, Michigan, went to be with her Lord on Wednesday evening, January 8, 2020 at her home in the loving care of her family.


Mrs. Otto was born on February 28, 1920 in Newaygo, Michigan to Daniel A. and Florence M. (Hole) Keiper.  Zelphia was a graduate of Big Rapids High School, class of 1938 and Del-Mar Cosmetology school in Detroit, in 1939.  She worked in Detroit and then Reed City as a cosmologist.  She has been a resident of the Clarence Township area since 1975.


On March 24, 1941, she married Keith M. Otto in Bowling Green, Ohio.  He preceded her in death on October 6, 2004 after the couple had earlier celebrated their 63rd wedding anniversary.  Once married, Mrs. Otto chose to become a homemaker, served as a Girl Scout Leader and enjoyed spending her time baking, sewing, crocheting and quilting.  Zelphia was a woman of strong faith in God and lived her life accordingly.  Over the years, she opened her home and heart to 84 foster children, mostly newborns.  Zelphia and her husband, Keith, operated Ministries of The Bread of Life food pantry in the Clarence Township area.  They were founding members of the Southcentral MI Food Bank, now known as the South Michigan Food Bank in Battle Creek.  She attended Crossroads Church and Ministries in Marshall for many years.  Zelphia enjoyed hosting weekly Bible Studies at her home for the last four decades.  She is remembered by her entire family as an extraordinarily loving wife, mother, grandmother and great grandmother as she exemplified Christ’s love in her daily life.  Zelphia will be deeply missed by all who knew her.


She is survived by her sister, Edith Buel of Elkhart, Indiana; daughters Sherry (Ken) Hornik of The Woodlands, TX and Sandy Otto of Olivet, MI; a son, Mark Otto of Lexington, KY; 10 grandchildren, Jack Otto Jr., Robert Otto, Marianne (Hornik) Roberts, Amanda Hornik, Kenneth Hornik Jr., Traci (Albers) Trudell, Courtnie (Otto) Richards, Megan (Callanan) McClimon, Keith Otto and Grace Otto; 12 great grandchildren and 2 great-great grandchildren.


She was preceded in death by her parents, Daniel and Florence Keiper; her husband, Keith Otto; a son, Jack Otto and siblings Owen Keiper, Alden Keiper, Lorene DeLong and Elinor Hutchins.


The family will receive friends on Tuesday, January 14, 2020 from 6:00 PM to 8:00 PM at the Marshall Chapel of the Kempf Family Funeral Homes and Cremation Services.  They will again meet with friends on Wednesday from 12:00 pm to 1:00 PM at the funeral home.  A funeral service to celebrate the gift of her life will be held at 1:00 pm Wednesday, January 15, 2020 at the funeral home with Reverend James Codde and Mr. Craig Kempf officiating.  Interment will follow in Ft. Custer National Cemetery, Augusta Michigan at a later time.

Friends who wish may make memorial contributions to the South Michigan Food Bank, 5451 Wayne Road, Battle Creek, Michigan 49016.  Assistance with memorials is available at the funeral home. 

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January 14, 2020

6:00 PM to 8:00 PM
Marshall Chapel of Kempf Family Funeral

Funeral Service
January 15, 2020

1:00 PM
Marshall Chapel of Kempf Family Funeral

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