We said, "Good-Bye" to Uncle Bill (William Ottto) Rother recently, who was/is an integral and intimate part our lives and in those of countless others, around the world.
A totally dedicated husband, father and grandfather, Uncle Bill was an athlete, scholar, US Army Reserve Lieutenant, learned forrester, and for many years, director for Tauck Tours. There, with the advent of the Boeing 707, he innovated the art of bringing guests to Hawaii for the very first time. An avid traveler, trouble-shooter and storyteller it was his love of music, however, that brought Uncle Bill into the Feliciano Family, some 30 years ago.
A Tour Manager for Feliciano Enterprises, 'U.B.' guided Jose and his band countless times around the world. Jose took great pleasure in his company and even recorded an album of Uncle Bill's musical compositions for him. They shared stories, tall tales and countless rounds of 'Hey, can you top this one?' during the course of their thousands of hours together.
Bill was a true uncle to our sons, Jonnie and Mikey, teaching them how to swim, taking them camping and hunting and lending an ear while bending theirs during so many extended man-to-man talks. He was even Mikey's mentor and sponsor during his journey towards becoming an Eagle Scout. For all this and so much more, Uncle Bill, we thank you.
Uncle Bill passed away the way he lived; with ease and style. He and his family were in Pennsylvania at his beloved hunting camp where his own father and grandfather had brought him all his life. On this occasion, he went fishing with his daughter, son-in-law and grandsons, BBQ'ed their dinner together, then played and sang music, cutting-up with his grandsons 'til he said he was going upstairs to sleep. They kissed each other goodnight and shared their I love you's, where he closed his eyes for the last time.
Over the years, during his time as Feliciano Tour Manager, 'U.B.' sent home screenshots of their adventures on the road to share with Jose's fans on this website. Two such stories appear below. We love you, Uncle Bill.
Jose & Uncle Bill at Yosemite :
WHILE PERFORMING IN FRESNO, CA. LAST YEAR WE HAD A RARE DAY OFF AND AS THE "TOURING ROAD MANAGER" I ALWAYS TRY AND FIND THINGS OF INTEREST TO ENTERTAIN JOSE & THE BOYS IN THE BAND...SOMETIMES THIS IS "QUITE CHALLENGING"...NOT SO IN BEAUTIFUL NORTHERN CALIFORNIA.
IN MY PREVIOUS "LIFE" I HAD BEEN A "TOUR GUIDE" AND ONE OF THE PLACES IN THE WORLD I HAVE ALWAYS LOVED IS "YOSEMITE". I ENGAGED A CAR AND DRIVER AND ALONG WITH SOME OF THE BAND WE SPENT A DAY TOURING THE YOSEMITE NATIONAL PARK.
ALSO, IN ANOTHER "LIFE", I HAVE A DEGREE IN "FORESTRY" AND TEACH TREE IDENTIFICATION IN OUR HOME TOWN IN CONNECTICUT. THIS ALLOWED ME TO TAKE JOSE UP CLOSE AND PERSONAL TO TOUCH...SMELL...AND ENJOY THE MANY TREE SPECIES IN THE PARK. HE ESPECIALLY ENJOYED THE ROUGH-BARK AND PUNGENT SMELL OF THE "GIANT REDWOOD" (SEQUOIA SEMPERVERANS ...FOR THOSE WHO CARE).
THE PHOTO YOU SEE IS OF US STANDING BY THE MERCED RIVER WITH “HALF DOME" IN THE BACKGROUND.
JOSE NEVER CEASES TO AMAZE ME WITH HIS GREAT APPRECIATION OF NATURE BY JUST ..."BEING THERE" I LOVE HIM...AS I'M SURE ALL OF YOU DO…
Uncle Bill Recalls Italy:
Suz, Here's a little memory of last summer that I wanted to share with you all:
We had been doing concerts all over Europe during the summer of 2001. They included a concert in Spain (in a Bull Ring!), in Austria (on an island in the Danube River) and in Turkey (in an old castle!!). Italy was to be our last stop. We arrived in Brindisi, Italy after very nearly missing the last flight from Rome that day. There, we were met by our delightful hosts, Tony & Irene Evangelisti and were whisked away to an Italian Villa in the remote town of Gallipoli.
Later that night, Jose was to perform for an audience of nearly 100,000 people and a nationally televised show called, "The Baroque Awards". Jose was fabulous!!
This award show is Italy's equivalent to "The Academy Awards" and "The Grammy Awards" all in one and Jose was chosen to receive the very prestigious "Baroque" in the music category. Also receiving awards that evening were Gerard Depardeau (for drama) and Sophia Loren (for lifetime achievement).
At a gathering after the show, when Jose was introduced to Gerard he asked..."Did you ever get your green card?" which, of course was a reference to Gerard's first major hit film in the U.S. But his best line was saved for Sophia when he said, "Sophia, you are so beautiful...you make a blind guy see!!!"