Remembering Boise State lecturer John Ottey

Boise State English Lecturer John Ottey unexpectedly died on Sept. 14. Ottey leaves behind his wife, Amber and two young children, Vivien and Callum. According to a GoFundMe page organized by a family member, Ottey was a dedicated father and husband.

Growing up in Lake Tahoe, California, Ottey graduated from the University of California Santa Barbara. Ottey was part of the staff for The Idaho Review and was one of the first students to graduate from Boise State’s creative writing MFA program, according to Boise State News.

Mac Test, professor and chair of the English department, talked about Ottey’s kindness and loving personality in an interview with Boise State News.

“The outpouring of sentiments from students, friends, and coworkers describe John as a kind, loving, and jovial person, with an “easygoing smile,” Test said.

[Photo of John Ottey, Boise State Lecturer]
Photo courtesy of the Boise State English Department

Test also spoke about how lucky Boise State was to have Ottey as a part of the English Department. 

“The English Department was lucky and honored to have such a dedicated teacher, joyful coworker, and the Boise community has lost an exemplary citizen,” said Test. “At a time when the world is experiencing so much upheaval, it is a particularly sharp loss to no longer have John Ottey’s positivity filling air.”

Former student, Lilly Crolius, spoke about her time with Ottey as her professor at Boise State. 

“The thought of college writing made me nervous, but with his guidance and fun-loving personality, he showed me, and I’m sure others, that writing could be anything we’d want it to be,” Crolius said. 

Ottey and his wife were in the midst of renovating their “forever” home to share with their growing family. 

Ottey’s family has organized the GoFundMe page to help support Ottey’s wife and children and to help with renovation costs to their home.
They also seek people who have experience in building trades that could help or make donations. To contact the family for renovation help, please reach out to

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