Health clinic named for Manistique native

MANISTIQUE – Despite the rain, it was standing room only at the dedication of Schoolcraft Memorial Hospital’s Alan W. Ott Rural Health Clinic, Friday. The ceremony brought Ott together with local and state officials, SMH staff, friends and family.

The Rollin M. Gerstacker Foundation of Midland, Mich., contributed $500,000 towards the hospitals capital campaign, and in exchange the foundation was given a naming opportunity for the new rural health clinic. The Foundation Board chose to name the facility after Manistique native Alan W. Ott, a career banker.

“In addition to the monetary gift, I believe the Gerstacker Foundation has provided us with something even more valuable, an opportunity to have Alan Ott back in Manistique, and we graciously accept both gifts,” said Don Perigo, SMH Board of Trustees chair and chairman of the hospital’s capital campaign.

Ott was born in Manistique in 1931, and was a high school student when ground was broken on the former Schoolcraft Memorial Hospital building. He had already begun his banking career by the time he graduated from high school in 1950.

While still in school, Ott became a part-time bookkeeper at the First National Bank of Manistique. After serving in the Korean War, Ott returned to banking, eventually becoming the president and chief executive officer of Chemical Bank in Midland in 1972.

“He’s a tough, hard-nosed banker with a heart that is gentle and kind,” said state Attorney General and Vice President of the Rollin M. Gerstacker Foundation Bill Schutte.

Ott became chairman of the bank in 1986 and also held the title at Chemical Financial Corp. Under his leadership, Chemical acquired 17 banks across the Lower Peninsula.

“You can’t do all these great things, like Alan Ott, unless you come from someplace really good, and this Manistique is a really good place,” said Schutte.

In addition to the dedication of the Alan W. Ott Rural Health Clinic, Ott was recognized by other officials during the ceremony. Manistique City Mayor Dave Peterson read a proclamation declaring June 21, 2013, as Alan W. Ott Day, Manistique Area Schools Superintendent Kathy McDonough presented Ott with the first ever Distinguished Alumni Award, and Daniel Blough, representative of Sen. Dan Benishek, presented Ott with a Certificate of Special Congressional Recognition.

“I think it’s very nice,” said Ott of the ways he was honored during the ceremony, adding he was not fond of surprises.

“I like things in order. That’s probably why I’m a banker – a retired banker,” he said.

This is not the first time that Ott has been recognized for his achievements. In 2003, the Michigan Bankers Association named Ott it’s Banker of the Year and he has been named to the Junior Achievement of Central Michigan Business Hall of Fame.

Ott has also received honorary doctorates from Albion College and Saginaw Valley State University. SVSU has also named an auditorium in its Regional Education Center in his honor and awarded him the SVSU Community Service Award.