Otis Walton Gunn

Friends in Pizza,

It is with a heavy heart and still shocking to me to have to post this. Today I received an email from a CPA in Arizona. He had found my email address among some of Otis’ stuff. He informed me that Otis had passed away on May 29th. I did a google search for more info. I didn’t know much about his amazing life prior to pizza. He stopped in and visited with me and Rob at our pizza shop a few years back and we frequently corresponded via email and on the think tank. He was one of the nicest guys I’ve ever met, and by evidence of his posts, had a true passion for pizza and helping others. Thank you for touching my life Otis.

Otis Walton Gunn -

MACON - Otis Walton Gunn, 58, of Macon, Georgia, died Thursday, May 29, 2008. Graveside services will be private in Riverside Cemetery. In lieu of flowers, the family has requested that contributions be made to Mulberry Street United Methodist Church, P.O. Box 149, Macon, GA 31202. -Mr. Gunn was a 1968 graduate of Stratford Academy. He attended the University of Georgia where he was a member of Sigma Alpha Epsilon and graduated from Florida Technological University in 1976. Mr. Gunn was a member of St. Andrews by the Sea United Methodist Church in Hilton Head Island, SC. A triathlete, he competed in several international competitions. Mr. Gunn was a charter employee of Disney World where he was boat captain of the Jungle Cruise. He owned Gunn Dental Supply in Tampa, FL and sold real estate on Hilton Head Island. He was a Commodities Broker at the Chicago Board of Trade and was owner of The Pizza Wheel, home of the fifty pounder, in Quartzsite, AZ. Mr. Gunn was predeceased by his father, Otis Benton Gunn. -Mr. Gunn is survived by his mother, Mrs. Otis Benton Gunn of Macon; brother, Frank Gunn (Gail) of Macon; niece, Jeana Gunn Bush (Seth) of Macon; great-nephew, Gunn Bush of Macon; special friend, Phydan Johnston Ramsey, and her children, Bern and Katie. -Hart’s Mortuary and Crematory has charge of arrangements. (Thomas and Sarah Boatwright Gunn desc)

Scott, you beat me to posting this by like 45 seconds. I am flabbergasted that we missed this. He was an absolutely impressive guy . . . he stopped by my shop in Grantville while we were almost completed building out. His cat was quite the character in his camper.

He gave me the curiosity to visit and experience others’ operations and share the brotherhood of the pizza life.

Talk about a rich and varied life he led! His is missed, and at the same time left an enduring legacy here and with Crazy Annie in Quartzite.

<> His memorial guest book is online at http://tinyurl.com/5g9yjk for anyone wishing to post a message to the family,

Wow, that explains his sudden lack of posts. He was such a nice guy, sharing PMs about our startup and his operations. This is sad news indeed. Perhaps PMQ might want to do a piece on him in one of their future issues. Once of the nice guys is no more but he left some great memories with all of us. Rest in peace, Otis.


what a shock!! I was only just thinking at the weekend that he hadn’t posted for a while. He was always keen to help. What a loss.

Otis will truly be missed. I admired his constant efforts to make thing better both for his customers as well as for all of us here on the Think Tank. He tought me to be always looking for a better way to do things.

Rest in Peace Otis.

Wow, I can’t believe it. I had the opportunity to meet Otis on the Pizza Cruise last year. He was a very nice gentleman. It is a shock for sure, and very sad to lose a tt friend. Otis, you will be missed brother!

I am very sad to hear of Otis. He was a good friend of mine, and in fact just the other day I was thinking of e-mailing him as I had not seen any posting from him in the Think Tank. I really twisted his are to get him to come along on the last Pizza Cruise, and he had a great time, as I think all of those who were there will attest. Everywhere you looked, there was Otis.
Otis was a really neat guy, and a true friend. We’ll miss him.
Tom Lehmann/The Dough Doctor

Thanks for posting it, Scott.

My apron off to him, over the years his advice and inspiration kept me going some days. He will be missed.

Nick and Charles thanks for the link and the picture.

I found this link



No! What terrible news. I think we’ve all had the same experience with Otis. What a great guy.

When I first heard that Otis’ pizzeria was in a trailer in Quartzsite Arizona I resolved to visit him. Quartzsite is on I-10 between Phoenix and Los Angeles. In February of this year I went through Quartzsite on the way to Los Angeles for our annual dealer cruise. I had lunch with Otis and took a few photos, one of which I attached below. He was one of the nicest people I have ever met – And he made a darn good pizza! I ran into him at this year’s Pizza Expo and had a great chat with him. Same old Otis we all love.

It’s terrible that he’s gone. Good bye, Otis. I wish I’d known you longer.


Wow, I truly can’t believe it! Otis and I had swapped emails back and forth for quite a while, but never got a chance to meet up. I was going to LA back about a year and a half ago and was going to stop in for dinner at the Pizza Wheel, but wound up getting stuck in some terrible trafic in Phoenix so I got there too late and he was closed! I am sure I will get another chance to meet up with him, may he rest in peace!

Rest In Peace Otis.

What a terrible loss for everyone that knew him. We all had so much more to learn from him. Not just about pizza, but about life. We’ll miss you.

Re Otis:

Unfortunately I never had the pleasure of meeting Otis;

It appears to be somewhat the norm that the Lord calls the finest to his house so early;

I think it is because he wishes to enjoy those outstanding individuals as soon as he can. Although that deprives the rest of us from basking in there presence they are his creations and no doubt they deserve their early admission to the Joys of heaven.

George Mills

I am sure he is making some really heavenly, and out of this world pies right now! I hope he can still get Grande and Stanislaus!

Otis you will be missed, now you can make a pizza with the the real master, God.

meet Otis last year at the ExPo awsome guy will greatly miss his help and banter.

God bless Otis and all of us who were fotunate to know him

Dennis & Dana

Like all I’m blown away about the passing of Otis.

Never had a chance to meet him (just a tad too far for a quick drop in) but I felt I knew him real well.

Otis took on a challenge that many of us wouldn’t and lived his dream of making fine pizzas from his trailer.

Hats off to Otis for making his dream a reality and for being part of the TT family.


I was looking to see when Otis last posted, just a few days before he passed away. Even though he was frequently away from the board and that its been over 2 months since he left us he still made time to make a huge contribution to the board and its participants and is so far the 2nd biggest poster:

Otis 949 posts
J_rokk 895
Daddio 888
Paul7979 864
Tom 651

but all wayyyy behind Nick on 2197!

I’ve noticed a few posts about Otis on other boards and its nice to see people making the same comments in other walks of life (non-pizza) seems like he was an allround great guys not just in the pizza world.

I’m really trying to ease back . . . I had an addiction here for while when i was building out last summer. I’m more controlled and considering each post I type, like Otis did.

One of the things that always impressed me about Otis is that he was always trying to make his pizzas better. To do this, he always was went back to the basics and simplified everything so that what he ended up with was the best dough he could make, with the best tomatoes and cheeses and toppings that he could find and use in the context of his mobile pizza experience but without sacrificing quality. He was not one for a lot of bells and whistles. Just a small number of solid and basic and pure pizzas for ordinary folks. And he was always asking questions–some of them quite esoteric like whether he should use autolyse or other types of rest periods and vary the sequencing of ingredients in making his doughs, using vinegar in his dough, and so forth. His questions caused a lot of people to scratch their heads but he was ahead of the crowd in many cases and doing the types of things that artisan pizza makers were doing but in a more traditional pizza setting. His end purpose was always about trying to make the best pizza he was capable of making. In the process, I think he also set the standard for mobile pizza making. I always looked forward to his discussions that were centered on trying to make a living with his mobile trailer pizza operation.


Also remember the TT went through a software change a while back. He was also a regular before the software change.

Everyone here at PMQ’s Pizza Magazine was deeply shocked and saddened to hear about the passing of Otis Gunn. We were able to spend time with him on our February Pizza Cruise and enjoyed his jovial nature and stories of his seasonal pizza business. He will be missed by many!!!

Liz Barrett, editor-in-chief
PMQ’s Pizza Magazine