Jack W. Cottrell
unknown - December 28, 2012
Jack W. Cottrell lost his battle with Parkinson's Disease on Friday, Dec. 28, 2012, at the Iroquois Nursing Home in Jamesville. He was born in Syracuse on Aug. 21, 1918, attended the Syracuse Public Schools and graduated from Syracuse University in 1941 with a master’s degree in civil engineering. He joined his father, Ensign S. Cottrell, in the family surveying business, becoming sole proprietor in 1947 when his father died. In 1990 he incorporated in a professional corporation, Cottrell Land Surveyors, with his son, Gary, and was still active in the business until his health began to fade. He loved his work and was probably one of the oldest surveyors in New York State who maintained his license to practice. He was an authority on roads, highways and historic survey documents in Central New York and provided information to many private and public people who requested advice. He was one of the founders, first presidents and treasurer of the Central New York Society of Land Surveyors. He belonged to the American Congress of Surveying & Mapping and the New York State Society of Professional Engineers.
Long interested in history and things historical he was one of the directors of the Onondaga County Historical Association, serving as interim president for a period of time. He was also a member of the New York State Canal Society, the Canal Museum Association, the National Trust for Historic Preservation, the Archaeological Institute of America, the Landmarks Association and the town of Manlius Historical Society, serving on the board of trustees for many years and being recognized by said society for his contributions to the town of Manlius community.
In 1968 he was chairman of the town of Manlius Advisory Committee for a Community Plan which assessed the needs and desires of town residents and compiled a long-range and orderly development plan for the town. He also served on the Onondaga County Planning Board from 1987 to 1993.
Jack was a member of the Conservative Party of New York State. He ran unsuccessfully for New York State Assembly, town of Manlius Supervisor and town of Manlius Board of Trustees on the Conservative Party Line during the 1960s and 1970s. He was also treasurer of the Onondaga County Conservative Party for over 20 years.
He was elected to the F-M Board of Education and served for nine years in that position, partly as president. He helped plan and construct three new school district buildings, lending his knowledge and judgment to the process.
He acquired a private pilot's license in 1941 and joined the U.S. Air Force in 1942, serving in WWII until 1946. In 1947 he and his wife, Dawn, bought an 1850 brick farmhouse in the town of Manlius and have lived there for 66 years. Jack loved farming and operated a “homestead farm” for many years with farm animals and machinery. Children from local nursery schools visited the “farm” every spring to enjoy the machinery and pet the animals. He loved children and shared this home and farm with more than 35 foster children from public and private agencies and people.
Jack was always interested in history and things historical. More than 200 of his collection of books were donated to the village of Manlius Library and the F-M School District over the years. He and his wife traveled extensively through New York state, the United States, and more than 21 countries world-wide. Slide shows were developed from his films and Jack shared these with many local groups during the 1960s through the 1980's.
Jack is survived by his wife of 71 years, Dawn, and seven children which include two sons, Gary (Rosemary) of Fayetteville, Karl (Diane) of Spotsylvania, Va., and five daughters, Diana, deceased, Anita Cottrell of Manlius, Faith (Thomas) Stephenson of Ottawa, Canada, Florence (David) Grant of Weedsport and Laurie Cottrell of Syracuse. He also has 13 grandchildren and nine great-grandchildren.
This was a quiet, unpretentious man who gave of his time, talents and money to serve his neighbors and community. His knowledge and presence will be greatly missed by all those who knew, loved, respected and worked with him.
Contributions may be made to Onondaga County Historical Association, 321 Montgomery Street, Syracuse NY 13202 or Manlius Town Historical Society, P.O. Box 28, Manlius, NY 13104. For a guestbook, please visit scheppfamily.com.