Otmar Otto Silberstein

April 18, 1921 - December 15, 2017

Otmar Otto Silberstein passed away on December 15, 2017 at the age of 96. Born in Graz, Austria, he came to the United States in 1939 with nothing more than the suit he wore and four dollars. After serving in the US Army in World War II, he married his lifelong partner, Natasha, and earned an MS from Michigan State in horticulture. He continued his education at Cornell and was awarded a PhD. His career as a food scientist brought him to Gilroy in 1963 where he directed the R&D lab at Gilroy Foods for many years. Before retiring he worked at the McCormick Co. headquarters in Baltimore as Director of Exploratory Technology. In retirement Otto became passionate about hydroponics. As a member of the Hydroponic Society of America, he promoted teaching of hydroponics at all levels of school, making contact with educators across the country.
Otto was admired and respected for his thoroughness, persistence and integrity by scientific and business associates. Family and friends appreciated his sense of humor, generosity and warm-heartedness. He loved classical music, traveling, telling stories, and poppy seed strudel. Otto truly enjoyed his work, and was a mentor to many people who worked with or for him. He developed an interest in genealogy, exploring potential connections with Silbersteins in the US as well as countries such as Brazil and Australia. To relax, he enjoyed playing Scrabble, chess, cribbage and ping-pong.
Otto is survived by a son, Robert, a granddaughter, Raina, and numerous nieces and nephews.
He was predeceased by his wife of 68 years, Natasha, as well as their son David.
A celebration of his life will take place at the Longhouse Restaurant in Gilroy on Saturday, February 3, 2018 from 2:00 to 4:00pm.
Donations in Otto’s name may be made to the International Rescue Committee (rescue.org).

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