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Daniel Ottolini

Daniel Ottolini was a lifelong Sonoma County resident and a World War II veteran who also served in the California National Guard's Santa Rosa-based 579th Engineer Battalion.

One of his four sons, Michael Ottolini, followed his father into the 579th Engineers and was killed by a roadside bomb while serving a tour in Iraq in 2004.

At Sgt. 1st Class Michael Ottolini's funeral, attended by more than 600 people, Daniel Ottolini received a Bronze Star for his son's meritorious service and a Purple Heart for his fatal wounds sustained on a convoy near Camp Anaconda on Nov. 10, 2004.

Daniel “Pops” Ottolini, 88, died at a Santa Rosa hospital on Oct. 13 due to injuries from a fall at his son Jay Ottolini's Santa Rosa home, where the elder Ottolini had lived for the past 30 years.

Members of the Michael Ottolini AMVETS Post 40 of Sonoma County and the Patriot Guard Riders will participate in a service for Daniel Ottolini at 1 p.m. Saturday at Santa Rosa Memorial Park, 1900 Franklin Ave.

The Riders will surround Ottolini with flags as his ashes are carried in an urn from the crematory to Veterans Patio for services.

The service is open to members of all veterans' organizations, said Ben Gibson, ride captain for the Patriot Guard Riders.

About 50 people attended the ceremony in 2008 at the National Guard Armory in Santa Rosa when the local AMVETS chapter adopted Michael Ottolini's name in recognition of his history of community support.

Born in Guerneville, Daniel Ottolini attended elementary school there and left school after the eighth grade to go to work in a Guerneville area butcher shop.

After six years in that job, Ottolini enlisted in the Army and served in Europe during the Allied push into Germany. Returning to Sonoma County after the war, he married the former Jacquie Gardner and went to work as a lineman for Pacific Bell for 30 years.

The couple had five children, and after they divorced Ottolini had a sixth child with his second wife.

Ottolini served more than 30 years in the National Guard and Army Reserve.

An avid hunter and fisherman, Ottolini was a straightforward, hard-working man, his son said.

“He gave his word and he meant his word,” Jay Ottolini said. His father taught him “how to be a good man.”

Ottolini suffered from diabetes and a heart condition but kept working at his son's ranch into his mid-80s.

He is survived by his wife, Jacquie Cruz of Windsor; sons Daniel Ottolini Jr. of Ukiah, Steven Ottolini of Rio Linda and Joe Ottolini of Lodi; daughters Betty Jo Hibbler of Houston and Teresa Messuri of Ohio; stepson Terry Carrillo of Alturas and numerous nieces, nephews, grandchildren and great-grandchildren.

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