A Respectful Son
When Paula Hayes came to New York from Louisiana in the summer of 1975, she intended only to have a vacation. But she met Conrod Cottoy at the First Baptist Church in Brooklyn; on Valentine's Day 1976, they married.
"He had all the qualities I was looking for," she said. "He believed in God and education, and he respected his mother. I never met a man who respected his mother more than he did. I figured, if he respects his mother, he respects other women."
Mr. Cottoy, 50, an analyst at Carr Futures, was born in Trinidad; he had lived in the United States for more than 30 years and had settled in Brooklyn. He held degrees in accounting and history, and, like a sponge, he soaked up knowledge of the world's cultures and religions. He had traveled the Nile River and visited the Sphinx and the pyramids.
The couple's four sons knew that if they brought home low grades, TV would be banned. And they knew that their father would not sleep until they were all home and accounted for. His affinity for Africa was evident in the names he gave his younger sons: Kojo, which means "born on Monday," and Ngozi, which means "blessing."
Profile published in THE NEW YORK TIMES on December 12, 2001.