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James F. Otwell, a retired Internal Revenue Service special agent, died Tuesday in his South Buffalo home after a long illness. He was 73.

As a seaman in 1960, the Lackawanna native survived the collision between the SS Standard Portland Cement, on which he worked, and the SS August Ziesing on Lake Huron.

A couple of years later, Mr. Otwell joined the IRS as a revenue agent and later became an intelligence agent. He was credited for several high-profile indictments and convictions of tax evaders. He retired in 1987.

Called "Oz" by many people, he was known for his Irish charm and wit. He marched in every Old Irish Day Parade since its inception.

Mr. Otwell attended Canisius High School. He played baseball for the high school team and also for several amateur teams that won championships in Erie County and across the state.

He served in the Navy from 1948 to 1952, serving aboard the USS Harry Bauer and the USS Gherardi.

After his military service, he graduated from St. Bonaventure University, where he was captain of the 1957 baseball team.

He is survived by his wife, the former Janet T. Crotty of Buffalo; two daughters, Jill Grasso of Hamburg and Julienne Sands of Buffalo; a son, James of Orchard Park; three sisters, Eileen Shimskey of Buffalo, Kathleen Franks of Hamburg and Faith of Snyder; four brothers, John, Kevin, Thomas and William, all of Buffalo; and seven grandchildren.

A Mass of Christian Burial will be offered at 9:30 a.m. Friday in St. Ambrose Catholic Church, 65 Ridgewood Road, after prayers at 9 in Thomas H. McCarthy Funeral Home, 1975 Seneca St. Burial will be in Holy Cross Cemetery, Lackawanna.