A Life Remembered

Cottrill 'always special' to his son, his family

Cottrill 'always special' to his son, his family

July 02, 2006|by MARLO BARNHART

Editor's note: Each Sunday, The Herald-Mail will run "A Life Remembered." This continuing series will take a look back - through the eyes of family, friends, co-workers and others - at a member of the community who died recently. Today's "A Life Remembered" is about Bradley Lynn Cottrill, who died June 20 at the age of 44. His obituary appeared in the June 25 edition of The Herald-Mail.

In April 2000, Bradley L. Cottrill penned "A Father's Wish" for his son, Bryan, who was then not a year old.

At the June 27 celebration of Brad's life - cut short by cancer at age 44 - that poem graced the memorial program.

In his own words, Brad had wished for Bryan good self-esteem, positive relationships, lifelong learning and happiness. Most of all, he wanted his son to know he was loved.


"I want him to think highly enough of me as a parent that he wants to be like me in important ways when he raises his own children," Brad wrote.

According to his mother and sister, Brad was able to spend a lot of time with his son in the time they had.

"He didn't know he was ill and he didn't know his path, but everything Brad did with Bryan was always special," said Sheri Artz, Brad's only sister.

The lifelong learning quest still was going strong until the end, with Brad working on state capitals with Bryan a few weeks before he died, Sheri said.

"We, as a family, made a pledge that Bryan would be loved," Sheri said.

All of the promises will be kept, they vowed.

Brad was able to spend Father's Day with Bryan, Sheri said. But he just missed his son's 7th birthday, which is Monday.

No activity was too mundane for Brad when it came to Bryan.

That even included the dreaded potty training, said his mother, Carol Artz. He would sit and keep Bryan company and tell him stories, she said.

"My mom did the same thing when I was little, and also when Brad and Sheri were little," Carol said.

Diagnosed with adenoid cystic carcinoma in March 2005, Brad had surgery at Johns Hopkins Hospital the next month. He followed up with a regimen of both radiation and chemotherapy.

Initially, Brad and his family were encouraged that the disease had been caught in time and would be dealt with swiftly. But by spring of this year, Brad began going downhill.

"At Easter, we had a family outing at the Hagerstown City Park," Sheri said. "It was a magical day for all of us."

At the time of his death, Brad was a financial adviser at Sovereign Bank. He had earned his degree in economics from the University of Maryland in 1986.

Both Carol and Sheri said they didn't know all of the things Brad was involved with in the community until they were faced with the task of composing his obituary.

They learned he chaired a March of Dimes walk, worked with the Hagerstown Police Athletic League, served in the Hagerstown Community College Alumni Association, was an active Jaycee and mentored boys without fathers.

"We want to continue Brad's legacy of giving," Sheri said.

As her older brother by 3 1/2 years, Brad always was patient and kind to her.

"We played a lot of board games, and Brad would read the directions to me and teach me how to play," Sheri said.

Through the years, the family would get together as often as possible.

"At holidays, we'd sit around the table and talk for hours - we're going to miss that," Sheri said.

Brad died June 20 at the Stella Maris Hospice in Baltimore.

"Even the young nurses were crazy about him, and he was only there five days," Sheri said.

He loved life and conveyed that until the end.

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