Tuesday, July 7, 2015

In Memory of a Fine Man

      Troop 50 celebrated the life and contributions of a leader, Scout parent, and friend as we said farewell to John Cottier, who passed away unexpectedly last week. Professor Cottier was a well respected and beloved archaeologist at the university, a Vietnam veteran, an Eagle Scout, and a dedicated Scouting volunteer. He will be missed by all who knew him.

John points out various archaeological sites to the Scouts at the
Horseshoe Bend National Military Park in April 2014.

      John grew up in Auburn, earned his Eagle rank in 1957 with Troop 11, and graduated from Auburn University in 1964. He received his masters and doctoral degrees from the University of Alabama and the University of Missouri, respectively. Called by the U.S. Army to serve in Vietnam during the late 1960s, he attained the rank of Captain in the armor branch and was awarded the Bronze Star for valor in combat. With a humility typical of John, he never revealed, even to his family, how he earned his medal.

      In his professional career, John accomplished a great deal. As an associate professor in the Department of Sociology, Anthropology, and Social Work; he was a dedicated teacher and researcher. His field school in archaeology trained many students over the years and his research covered many Alabama historical sites such as Fort Mitchell, the Ebert Canebrake Site, and the Old Federal Road. One of the many tributes to John and his work came from one of his colleagues, Jessica Crawford, the Southeastern Region Director of the Archaeological Conservancy. The article is found online at the Archeological Conservancy website. Another great tribute to John was published in the student newspaper, The Auburn Plainsman.

Troop 50 Scouts and leaders line up prior to the service for Dr. Cottier.

      As a Scouter, John was a dedicated volunteer. He served as a Cub Scout den leader for both of his sons. As a den leader with Pack 29, he started as a Tiger Cub leader and followed his den through their Wolf, Bear, and Webelo years. Several current Troop 50 Scouts found their own dedication to Scouting under John's tutelage. Upon transitioning to Troop 50, John registered as an assistant scoutmaster but health concerns kept him from participating as fully as he would have liked. Still, he was a hard worker and always looking to contribute in any way that he could. A number of the photos in our online photo gallery were taken by John and just three weeks ago, he met the boys upon the troop's return from Camp Sequoyah with a big "Welcome Home" sign. On Monday, the Scouts returned the honor as we lined up behind his family at the funeral service. Troop Committee Chairman, and former Pack 29 Cubmaster, Rob Stanford spoke eloquently about John's commitment to Scouting. He noted that the two things that best defined John were how humble he was, never seeking credit for his contributions, and how hard working he was. He was often the first to arrive at Scouting events and the last to leave. His hard work and humility will be missed in every endeavor of which he was a part.

Dr. John W. Cottier, 1940 - 2015
      Memorial donations for John may be made to the Forward in Faith Campaign at St. Michael's Catholic Church, 1100 North College Street, Auburn, AL 36830 or to the John W. Cottier Memorial Scholarship for Archaeology, Allocation code: 60001365, Gift processing, 317 South College Street, Auburn, AL 36849.