A Legacy: The idea is not to live forever, but to create something that will. That is something that John Cotterill certainly did for his children, grandchildren, and many others in the community. He passed on a passion and love for fresh-water fishing. A legacy has to start with someone and he will always be remembered each time we cast our line as the one that started the tradition of fishing and enjoying the great outdoors. John was known for always keeping a positive mindset. He could always find the good in any situation. He had a gift of never knowing a stranger. If you were caught next to him in a pool, elevator, or poker room…you were going to surely become a new friend. He could talk to anyone about anything. He loved to learn about others and their lives. John always led by example when it came to finding ways to connect with people.

Johnny Cotterill passed away at the young age of 94 due to natural causes. He was surrounded by his loving family as he passed on November 18th, 2022. He was more active than most 94 year men. He still played poker on Tuesday nights and was just fishing a couple months ago with his son, Mark. John was born in Akron, Ohio to John and Nellie Cotterill where his love and passion for the outdoors came early in life. He participated in many sports while attending high school and Kent State University.

In his early years, the tire business was his specialty, working in the export division of the General Tire and Rubber Co. in Caracas, Venezuela. It was here that John learned to speak Spanish. He could never tell others enough how important it is to learn how to speak another language so it would open the doors to communicating with even more people.

Returning to Ohio, John married his wife Delores (Dee), who passed away in 2019 after 65 wonderful years of marriage. They later moved to Decatur, Illinois where they started a family. They were blessed with four wonderful children: Gary Cotterill, Mark Cotterill, David Cotterill (deceased), and Loriann Boyd. John's love for the outdoors resulted in a move to Lakeland, Florida.

John’s business interests led him to be associated with the mobile home business for over 30 years. He also worked for automobile dealership agencies. He worked as a freelance writer for the Lakeland Ledger about his most passionate interests; fishing and the great outdoors. This later led to him living out a dream to talk about what he loved most by being the host of the “Let’s Go Fishin” show on 97 Country WPCV for 41 years. For many years, locals waited every morning to hear “Good morning anglers, welcome aboard!” His grand-children always felt so proud when they heard their Papas voice come on the radio.

His experience with outdoor media, love for fishing, and his top notch abilities to network with others led him and many of his friends to donate their time, energy, and experience towards activities that involved young anglers interested in fishing. They would hold local fishing derby’s for young anglers including those that were physically challenged. One of his most successful and impactful endeavors was when he became a co-founder and charter member of the Lakeland Bass Masters that was established in the early 1970s. For nearly 14 years, he welcomed the opportunity to assist and direct many local charity bass tournaments for organizations in need. Some of those organizations were MS, MD, Juvenile Diabetes, and Budweiser Bass Classic for Senior Orphans of Polk County.

Other social activities John enjoyed were playing poker with local friends, attending bass club functions, playing Santa Claus, going to the beach at Siesta Key with family and friends, and fishing with his grandkids, Colby, Marcus, Jessica, and Hannah. He even had the opportunity to do some salt water fishing with his great-grandson, Carson Sherotski.

John leaves behind his loving children Gary Cotterill, Mark Cotterill, and Loriann Boyd along with his son and daughter in laws Donna Cotterill, Bernie Cotterill, and Tom Boyd. Also, his grandchildren, Colby Cotterill, Marcus Cotterill, Chris & Jessica Sherotski, and Brandon & Hannah Pratt. He was blessed to live long enough to enjoy two great-grandchildren, Carson Sherotski and Brady Pratt. John was also a top-notch Papa to his grand-dog Prissy.

As he always said, “Till next time, great to have you on board with me all these years! Don’t forget to keep a tight line, and I hope to see you on the pond real soon!”

Condolences may be sent to the family at Gentry-Morrison Funeral Homes.

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