Daniel Brian Cotter
Dec. 26, 1951-Oct. 5, 2023
Daniel Cotter died Oct. 5, 2023, after battling more medical issues than one person should ever have to endure. Through it all, he faced his challenges with grace, humor, grit and courage.
He was born Dec. 26, 1951, in Montgomery, Ala., to Ruth (Fauconnier) and James Daniel “Dan” Cotter, and lived in Alaska, South Carolina and Virginia, among other places, as his Air Force family moved from assignment to assignment. His family ended up in Biloxi, MS., where he graduated from Biloxi High School and then, from the University of Southern Mississippi in Hattiesburg.
Dan returned to the Mississippi Gulf Coast soon after graduation to work at the South Mississippi Sun and Sun-Herald as a copy editor and page designer. In 1978, he met a newly hired reporter, Barbara Holtzman, and they were married three years later. Following a brief stint at the Jackson, MS, newspaper, they moved to Colorado Springs to work at what was then the Gazette Telegraph, and he spent most of his working life there as a news copy editor, news editor, sports copy editor and acclaimed page designer and art director before taking a short-lived job as a magazine designer with the Professional Rodeo Cowboys Association.
In 2011, the first of his multiple medical issues hit him when he had a stroke during surgery. He lost his left field of vision and was forced to retire on disability, but he learned how to compensate for his disability and was able to travel and do the things he loved. But in 2017, he had a failed back surgery that left him in excruciating pain and made it a challenge for him to walk and maintain his balance. At that point, it became clear that he could no longer stay in his Colorado Springs house with its three flights of stairs, so he and Barbara moved to Loveland, CO, to be closer to their daughters Alison and Charlotte, and grandson Blake. Despite receiving better medical care in northern Colorado, the pain limited his mobility and greatly affected his quality of life. As if that weren’t enough, 2022 piled on with a diagnosis of COPD, and he became tethered to supplemental oxygen. His lungs, already weakened by COPD, got worse when he received radiation for a cancerous nodule, and they gave out within a few months.
Dan is survived by his wife Barbara, daughters Alison Schmidt (Chris) of Fort Collins, CO, and Charlotte Cotter (Matthew Moseley) of Loveland; grandson Blake Baron of Fort Collins; sister Kathy Jones of Biloxi; brother Mark Cotter (Suzanne) of Reidsville, NC; brother-in-law Gary Holtzman (Brooke); nephews Aaron Jones and Chris Cotter; and nieces Lindsey and Haley Jones, Jordan Cotter Kluttz, Olivia Cotter Martin, Shelby Holtzman and Casey Holtzman.
A water cremation has taken place, and a memorial celebration of Dan’s life will be held in the spring of 2024. Donations can be made to Friends of the Loveland Library,
And thus concludes the formal portion of Dan’s obituary.
Here’s the more telling part of his life story:
1. His family might have moved from Clemson, SC, when he was a kid, but his heart remained in the place where he spent his “Huck Finn” years. He was avid, loyal fan of all Clemson sports — especially football — and finally got to see the Tigers play at their home stadium in 2016. Bonus: Clemson won.
2. He devoured books the way most kids devour Halloween candy. Dan read at least two books a week, touching on all genres except, maybe, romance and horror. Literary fiction, history books, biographies, art/artists, mysteries, sports, politics — all found a place in his ever-growing library, and it pained him to part with any of them.
3. He was a music lover and frustrated musician who tried his hand at the guitar and got pretty good at it. As with his broad taste in books, he also jumped into various musical genres, with rock/folk/alternative being at the top. At one point, he had about 1,000 LPs, including nearly every album by the Beatles, John Prine, Emmylou Harris, The Rolling Stones, Gram Parsons, Nancy Griffith, Neil Young, Paul Simon, Bob Dylan and others too numerous to mention.
4. From his page designs and illustrations — many of which won awards from the Society for News Design — to his paintings and collages, Dan showed himself to be an artist of considerable talent. But ever the self-effacing critic, he would brush off compliments and rarely deem himself satisfied with his work.
5. He was devoted to his family and friends, especially his grandson, whom he spoiled with great glee.
His family requests that you remember Dan for his razor-sharp wit, his creativity, his intelligence, his kindness, his loyalty to the people he loved, and his strength in the face of life-altering events. It was a life well lived.