A Grandmother’s Love: A Donor Story about the Family Legacy of Davey P. Oetting, Jr.

Davey Oetting remembers how he first became involved at the Donald Danforth Plant Science Center: “I first heard about the Danforth Center from my grandma, of course.”

Davey's grandmother was Marie Prange Oetting, "Ree Ree” to her family. A graduate of Washington University in St. Louis, she was a close friend of Bill Danforth until her death in 2018. She was also a Charter Member of the Danforth Center.

She planted a seed of how one should live one’s life and give back to society. It grew into my lifelong commitment now that she’s gone.



“Ree Ree got me interested. After college, I joined the Young Friends of the Center, and we would run into each other at Danforth Center events. Even when she was 90, she was going out more than I was!”

Today, Davey is a vice president at Merrill Lynch Wealth Management and the current chair of the Danforth Center Young Friends. He took the reins from Logan O'Connor and just completed his first Grow Challenge Week of Giving. Davey says he is dedicated to the work of the Center where his grandmother invested so much of her energy.

“Really it goes back to the three pillars of the Danforth Center mission: I care about preserving the environment, I care about feeding the hungry, I care about the St. Louis region. I care about Dr. Danforth. I care about my grandma. It struck every chord for me.”

Thinking about his grandmother, he added: "She planted a seed of how one should live one's life and give back to society. It grew into my lifelong commitment now that she's gone."

Danforth Center donor and volunteer Davey P. Oetting, Jr., and his spouse Katie, 2021

Get Involved

If the Danforth Center mission resonates for you, as it does for Davey, there are many ways to get involved. Whether you attend an event, volunteer, or make a donation, you are helping people in St. Louis and around the world. Learn more at the Young Friends webpage or contact the Development Office via email or phone at 314.587.1234.


A version of this story originally appeared in the Leaflet, the free newsletter of the Donald Danforth Plant Science Center. Sign up to receive more stories like this straight to your inbox.