McInnis Ott was born June 10, 1925 in Toomsuba, Mississippi to Floyd and Lula Ott. He was the sixth and youngest child born from this union. His parents and all of his siblings, Emmet Ott, Melvin Ott, Alice Arneater Horne, Alta Smith and Vera Cruz Lamar Wilkins, preceded him in death.
He began his relationship with Christ at an early age at Pleasant Grove Methodist Church in Toomsuba, where he and his future wife worshipped together as children. He was educated in Mississippi public schools and graduated from Harris High. McInnis left Mississippi to enter the military at the age of 18 and served in the Airforce Division of the Army from 1943-1945. The strength of character and resolve he developed through his spiritual and parental upbringing were integral to his successful navigation of the segregated south and military. After an honorable discharge, he attended Dillard University in New Orleans, earning a degree in Business Administration.
McInnis moved to San Francisco in 1951. Using the last of his savings, he purchased a train ticket for Exie, his childhood friend, high school sweetheart and soulmate, to ride from Mississippi to California to join him. The path God set for them all those years ago culminated in their marriage, August 8, 1952. They shared the joys of raising three children, Vernon, Yvette and Kelvin and the blessings of continuing their Christian lives as loyal members of Jones Memorial United Methodist Church.
Family and faith were the pillars of his life. He was laser focused on the well-being of his wife and children. Through his 30 years of employment with the United States Postal Service, he ensured college educations were attainable and financial security was certain. For 70 years McInnis was a dedicated member of Jones Memorial United Methodist Church, serving in various capacities including being a member of the Methodist Men, Board Member of the Jones Memorial Homes and an active participant in a wealth of fundraising efforts.
His favorite pastime was fishing with his wife at California lakes and levees. He was fascinated by wild life, an avid fan of San Francisco sports teams and a great home chef. Friends and family always looked forward to having his annual Mississippi gumbo. McInnis was an impeccable dresser and could give tutorials on the latest in men’s fashion. He possessed a disarming wit matched with a twinkle in his eye and a gentle laugh. Gardening was one of his passions, evidenced by the abundance of vegetables he cultivated in his backyard and his reputation in the neighborhood for having a front lawn cut and maintained to perfection.
McInnis was preceded in death by his wife, Exie and his son, Vernon. To celebrate his life and cherish his memory he leaves his loving son and daughter, Kelvin Ott and Yvette Ott, his brother-in-law, Exlon Hall Sr. (Willie), three sisters-in-law, Dessie Hall, Bessie Larkin and Eloise Norman and a multitude of nieces, nephews, cousins and friends.
McInnis was a master of quiet achievement and a commander of well-earned respect. He never left a task undone, failed to lend a hand or take an opportunity to extend a kindness. He truly set an example for living well.
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