Charles J. Cotterman, 86, passed away on July 9, 2013, at his home in Fort Collins, Colorado. The avid outdoorsman was -- as he wished -- surrounded by his beloved twin daughters, Chase Cotterman Fields and Bryce Cotterman Ainsworth, in the final hours of his brief and courageous battle with cancer.
Charles was born on December 3, 1926, in Coffeyville, Kansas. He grew up in Sedalia, Missouri, and never lost his fondness of his idyllic hometown and treasured childhood memories.
Charles proudly served his country in the Philippines during World War II as part of the war effort in the Pacific Theater. His family thanks him and all members of the military for their service. After the war, Charles attended the University of Missouri, graduating in 1950 with a degree in Animal Husbandry and Agriculture. On June 2, 1951, Charles married his childhood friend, Louise Van Dyne, also of Sedalia. The couple moved that same year to Coral Gables, Florida, where Charles became a respected and successful architect. He spent most of his professional career as the Staff Architect at the University of Miami.
After Charles retired in January 1987, he and Louise moved to Fort Collins, Colorado, to pursue their lifelong love of the outdoors. Charles and Louise spent many happy years hiking and exploring the mountains of Colorado. Charles was also an excellent marksman and expert bow hunter. He won the 1964 Florida State Championship in archery, in the bare bow category (no sight). He also founded the Florida Bowhunters Club.
Charles is survived by his daughters, Chase Cotterman Fields of San Diego, California, and Bryce Cotterman Ainsworth of Madison, Mississippi; along with son-in-law, Greg Ainsworth; grandsons, Fletcher and Spencer Fields and Tyler and Walker Ainsworth; and great-granddaughter, Layla Avery Ainsworth.
His loving wife, Louise, passed away on July 28, 2007, after a brave and lengthy fight with ALS (Lou Gehrig's disease). The couple celebrated their 56th anniversary shortly before her death.
Charles is also preceded in death by his son-in-law, Alan Fields, who died on February 3, 2004; and his parents, Joy and Lucille (McEniry) Cotterman.
Charles's daughters would like to thank the nurses and staff at Pathways Hospice of Northern Colorado. They made it possible for their father to receive his final wish -- to die at home with his girls by his side.
The cremains of Charles and Louise will be buried together in Sedalia, Missouri, at a later date.
Donations can be made in Charles's memory to the St. Labre Indian School in Ashland, Montana.
Charles's family and friends continue to mourn his loss. He was a gentleman in every sense of the word. He had an infectious smile, a dry sense of humor, an unwavering love of his country, and an awe-inspiring appreciation of nature.
His family and friends, however, find solace in knowing that Charles and Louise are together again. And they can now, as Bryce said, "explore all new celestial hiking trails."
Published in SedaliaDemocrat.com on Sept. 6, 2013