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Otis "Sandy" Fine '61 November 7, 2022 11:53 AM updated: November 7, 2022 12:25 PM

Otis Windol Fine
January 6, 1939 – October 7, 2022

Otis Windol Fine, age 83, of Houston, Texas passed away on Friday, October 7, 2022.

Otis Windol "Sandy" Fine lived a Fine life until he passed peacefully from this world on October 7, 2022 in the presence of his two beloved daughters. Anyone who knew him would be unsurprised that the three were talking right up to the moment came for him to meet his Lord and Savior Jesus Christ and to march where his story continues for eternity. Sandy's reputation as a deep thinker and an easy talker came honestly. His entire life was full of stories.

Sandy's story began in San Antonio, TX when he was born to Mark Henderson Fine, Jr. and Ava Marguerite "Peggy" Drake Fine on January 6, 1939 just before the start of WWII. When the war started, his father served overseas in the Pacific. Sandy and his mother moved around Texas until the mid 1940s when the family finally settled in Houston. Mark followed his father's footsteps into the newspaper business and began working at the Houston Press. Sandy's childhood was spent in Park Place where his young life revolved around school, church, and scouting. He liked a challenge and eventually achieved the title of Eagle Scout. He attended Milby High School where he distinguished himself in ROTC. He graduated in 1957 as second in command and captain of the rifle team. Sandy was an excellent marksman once named Best Shot in the City. An only child, he enjoyed the camaraderie of his Milby friendships which remained part of his story until present day. His friends were like family.

Marching onward, Sandy's story took him to Texas A&M—male only and corps to the core. Sandy discovered at A&M that he bled maroon. When Fish Fine wasn't marching to chow, hitting a brace, or memorizing campusology; he was studying engineering. But, more often than his studies, he referred to the good bull sessions of his college years. For civilians that just means a load of conversations with his fellow students. His stories were replete with Aggie slang, mess hall jargon, dormitory life, and all things bonfire. Sandy excelled on the rifle team and was named All-Southwest Conference. He graduated Class of '61 with his Bachelor of Science in Industrial Technology, an Aggie for life.

Sandy's next steps would advance his story in a big way. In the fall of 1961, Sandy married fellow Milby graduate Mary Beth Reifschneider. In January 1962, he received his United States Air Force Commission as 2nd Lieutenant, assigned to Selfridge Air Force Base in Mt. Clemens, MI. He began a career in Industrial Engineering and never looked back. In 1965, 1st Lieutenant Fine and his wife bid farewell to Michigan and took a life-changing trip to over eighteen European countries before moving to New York City. Sandy became a real New Yorker, with a Texas accent. He started his MBA. He discovered a passion for live theater. At one time he had seen everything on Broadway. He started reading for pleasure. He became a performing arts enthusiast and lifelong reader but his heart was always that of an industrial engineer. Inquisitive. Analytical. Loquacious. In New York, he was able to stretch his legs professionally. He honed his craft and became a technical witness for the New York Central Railroad. There he met a kindred spirit named Rein Olvet, an Estonian-cum-New-Yorker who would become Godfather to Sandy's first child and who would make him a Godfather in turn. The two remained as close as brothers until Rein's passing in January 2022 and today are together again; picking up where the conversation left off...

By 1969, the Fines had returned to Texas and Sandy completed his MBA at the University of Houston. He found he could write his own ticket but his story shifted dramatically over the next decade. Sandy's career took the couple to California where he joined Toastmasters in Oakland. In 1971, they became new parents of a baby girl. Daddy was his new name. The role he was meant to play. The job title he would never surpass. Fatherhood would be his raison d'etre. They left northern California for Spokane, WA before moving back to Texas in 1973. Sandy would travel the world for the next five decades but call Texas home for the rest of his life. And life happened. The couple parted ways yet the two remained dedicated and supportive parents to their daughter and each other.

Moving from Kaiser Aluminum to Mischer Manufacturing, where he would become President and General Manager, Sandy developed his love of production and materials handling. He married Phyllis Roach Poole and they had a baby girl in 1978. He loved being a daddy a second time. Once again, the plot thickened. He was married a third and final time but alas married life was not to be for Ol'Army.

Work friends would become his work family and he found his sweet spot at The Houston Chronicle. Both his father and grandfather had worked as pressmen. He had newspaper ink in that maroon blood. He liked the ins and outs of the newspaper business. Production. Distribution. He knew every person in the press room by name, gathering information and forming relationships during his many years in Production Department.

But he truly found his people in Engineering. He was the quintessential Industrial Engineer. Some I.E.s are made. Sandy was born one. Projects constantly kept the gears in his head turning in search of an elegant solution. His work family was privy to his process as they endured the daily and detailed Sandy Fine stories until his retirement in 2006... but the group kept in touch because there was always something more to talk about.

Sandy belonged to many communities. He settled in League City during the 1980s. He knew all of his neighbors with whom he had many long conversations over the years. He got his hair cut by the same person for over a decade. A voracious reader and movie buff, he was a regular at the local library. He served as President of the Houston Chapter of the Institute of Industrial Engineering. He was a Master Gardener. Mostly notably, Sandy was an active member of Clear Lake Presbyterian Church for almost forty years. An Elder. A Deacon. A Mentor. A follower. A leader. A cheerful giver. His small groups, bible studies, the Wildmen, and the Noisy Boys were actually his extended family. They laughed, cried, ate, prayed, hiked, traveled together. They had special days and places to have coffee. He and his friends frequented the same restaurants for decades. He had inside jokes with them and he was even the main subject of a song written.

After a close friend passed years ago, Sandy decided he would try new things and accept invitations no matter where they led. He ended up visiting approximately forty countries including India in 2020, to attend the wedding of his Mentee, Shae Quigley. He visited his daughters who both studied abroad and both live outside of Texas. He was in Central America for the birth of his youngest grandson and in Austin the day his eldest grandson moved into a college dorm. He spent holidays and vacations with other people's families. He had his own room at multiple friends' houses, always happy to be wherever he was and ready to share a story the moment his feet hit the ground. He was grateful for any invitation beyond the norm or behind the scenes, be it a plant tour or a backstage pass. Stoked by new ideas and experiences, his curiosity fueled the fire.

When he moved to Rice Village in 2021, he threw himself into his favorite activity--interviewing each and every person he met to learn something new and find common ground. He talked to everyone who would listen. Conversely, he would listen to their life stories with great interest. He lived up to his saying, "Talking seems stressful but not for me." He was soon known as the Trivial Pursuit champion and Mr. Congeniality. To his friends, he was an easy-talker and fun-loving cohort but also someone ready to engage them at any level. To his family he was a world-class Daddy and a proud Pop whose fabled lengthy lectures were as much a part of his affection as his generous hugs. He was well-traveled and well-read. A philosopher. An optimist. An Olympic-level conversationalist.

As his storytelling days were drawing to their natural end, Sandy remained open and curious about the future ahead. He exceeded the concept of a father and embraced his titles of father-in-law and grandfather. His family could always count on his wise counsel as much as his wisecracks. Family time will be slightly less talkative but he will certainly inhabit family conversations forever. What a joy for him to be reunited with all those who have gone before him and hear all the answers to his unending questions. To actually and at last... know-it-all.

He is survived and will be missed terribly by: his daughters and their spouses, Chelsea Fine Watkinson and Dave Watkinson, Lori Fine de Cordero and Ernesto Cordero; his grandsons, Patrick Elijah and Victor Ernesto.

A memorial service and celebration of life will be held at Clear Lake Presbyterian Church on Saturday, December 3, 2022 at 11:00 AM.

In lieu of flowers, reconnect with an old friend; visit your family; give to charity; learn something new; travel somewhere you've never been; start a conversation.

Fond memories and expressions of sympathy may be shared at for the Fine family.

Forest Park East Funeral Home & Cemetery


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