In Memoriam: Otto George Raabe


by the Raabe family

Lynn and Otto Raabe

Otto George Raabe was born on 3 October 1936 to Elsie and Otto Raabe in Clifton, New Jersey. He died on 10 September 2022. When he was entering high school, his family moved to Hollywood, Florida. When he graduated from high school, Otto was awarded a Navy ROTC scholarship and was sent to the University of New Mexico in Albuquerque. He graduated in 1958 and was posted to Kirtland Air Force Base, also in Albuquerque.

In 1959, Otto met Evelyn "Lynn" Kircher, whom he married in 1960. They were married for 62 adventure-filled years. In 1961, Otto entered graduate school at the University of Rochester, New York, where he earned a doctoral degree (PhD) from the Department of Radiation Biology and Biophysics. He then accepted a position at Lovelace Foundation in Albuquerque. Otto's research and leadership flourished there. In 1976, Otto accepted a position at the University of California, Davis (UC Davis).

Otto was professor of veterinary molecular biosciences and of civil and environmental engineering. He taught and conducted scientific research in the fields of radiation biology and biophysics, airborne particle science, and inhalation toxicology. He was a board-certified health physicist and a 50-year member of the Health Physics Society (HPS). Otto was elected president of the HPS in 1998. His first charge was to visit each of the 50 chapters and each of the 19 student branches. He was elected a Fellow of the HPS in 1992 and awarded the Society's Distinguished Scientific Achievement Award in 1994.

In addition to radiation biology, Otto was also knowledgeable in the fields of industrial hygiene and toxicology and was a member of the American Industrial Hygiene Association, the Society of Toxicology, the American Association for Aerosol Research, the American Conference of Governmental Industrial Hygienists, the Radiation Research Society, the American Academy of Health Physics, the International Society for Aerosols in Medicine, and the American Association for the Advancement of Science. He retired from UC Davis in 1998. During his illustrious career, Otto authored and coauthored over 150 open-literature scientific papers and over 100 scientific reports.

Otto's hobbies included raising red factor canaries, which lived in the aviary attached to his home. He was an accomplished dry fly fisherman, most often plying streams in New Mexico and Colorado. Otto loved to camp with his family in the family tent. He enjoyed fixing and repairing anything mechanical around his Buchanan Street home. He took great pride that there is no record of a plumber, electrician, carpenter, or mechanic visiting the Raabe household under his 45-year tenure.

Otto was a devoted husband, father, and grandfather. His children are Diana (Kelly), Otto and Kathy (Csaposs), Bruce and Sara (Wardell-Smith), Liane and Mike (Rumsey) and Ruth and Peter (Vellutini). Otto also leaves behind 13 grandchildren.

Services were held at the Lutheran Church of the Incarnation on 17 September. In place of flowers the family requests a donation to the Gideons International or a charity of your choice.