Obituary for Patrick Cotter
Patrick David Cotter, Ph.D.
Dr. Patrick David Cotter, age 70, died on November 25 in Minneapolis, Minnesota. Mass of Christian Burial will be held at the Church of the Nativity of Mary, 9900 Lyndale Avenue South in Bloomington at 2:00 pm, Friday, December 1st. Visitation will be the same day and location between 12:00 pm – 2:00 pm.
He was preceded in death by his parents, Vincent Richard & Dorothy Ursula Tibodeau Cotter and his brother, John (Jack) Timothy Cotter. Survivors include his wife, Kay Lillig Cotter and two sisters, Glenna (Darrell) Thill and Gail Malenke. Also surviving are two sons, David (Danielle) and Daniel Cotter and his beautiful granddaughter, Daisy Marie Cotter. He leaves behind loving nephews, Travis, Mike (Lindsay) and Dustin Malenke, Don (Shauna) Welker and nieces Jenna, Sheena and Brianna Welker and Alicia Cotter, in addition to four great nephews and ten great nieces.
Pat was born on January 29th, 1947 in Worthington, Minnesota and grew up in Brewster, Minnesota. He was involved in school activities including playing center on the football team and participating in class plays. From the time he was ten years old, he started working for his uncle Thomas (Tom) Cotter at the local newspaper and later for his uncle Richard (Dick) Cotter at his grocery store, learning how to cut and prepare meats as a butcher. He left Brewster to attend the University of South Dakota in Vermillion for eight years, earning his bachelor, master and doctorate degrees in psychology, with a double major in zoology as an undergrad. He also met and married his wife, Kay, in Prescott Park, Vermillion, on August 18th, 1972.
He was always a jokester. And, one of his favorite stories was telling how he came home early from school one day because the teacher had expelled him for horsing around. When his mom heard his story, she said, “Your big mouth got you into this, so your big mouth will have to get you out.” and sent him right back to school. Pat’s first pet was a dog named Friday. And, over the years, the family had several dogs, some scrappy mutts and some pure-breeds.
Pat loved psychology and became a skilled practitioner while attending the University of Oregon Medical School in Portland (now Oregon Health Sciences University) for his internship and residency in Counseling Child Psychology studying under Dr. Joseph Matarazzo & Anne Garner. Joe later became president of the American Psychological Association. From there, he moved to Chicago and worked at Children’s Memorial Hospital from 1975 to 1981.
In 1976, Kay’s dad and mom took them to her dad’s cabin on Hansen Lake in Ontario, Canada. That ignited Pat’s love of fishing and annual trips to the cabin for the rest of his life. On one trip to Canada as we traveled through northern Minnesota, Pat was lauding the wonders of Minnesota when Kay’s dad said, “If Minnesota is so great, what about Canada?” Without skipping a beat, Pat said “Minnesota is God’s country. But, Canada is heaven!”
Pat took his brother, Jack, on a hiking trip along the Boundary Waters during his time in Chicago. And, he started fishing off the piers on Lake Michigan and taking camping/fishing trips with the Cotter clan to various parks in Minnesota. Many of his family members also made the trip to Canada. From 1982 on, Pat always had a boat for fishing and got a cabin on Leech Lake on Father’s Day, 1985, when his first son, David, was nine months old. Pat’s mom, brother, sisters and their kids all spent time at the cabin enjoying the Leech Lake area.
For most of his adult life, Pat fished for musky on Leech Lake and throughout the Twin Cities lakes, Lake Mille Lacs and Lake Vermillion. He shared this passion with his son, David. He also loved woodworking, building several pieces of furniture for the cabin and then turning wood on a lathe, making all kinds of pens, lamps, candlestick holders, platters, bowls and more.
He loved football and enjoyed rooting for Notre Dame with his son, Daniel. He attended many of his sons’ sporting events and had a great time with Daniel enjoying courtside seats at a Timberwolves game.
As a psychologist, he worked in three offices making great friends with pediatricians, Al Heimel in West St. Paul and Ernie Swihart in Minnetonka along with their colleagues. Ernie and Pat wrote The Manipulative Child: How to Regain Control and Raise Resilient, Resourceful, and Independent Kids. They shared and evolved their ideas through their experiences and strong appreciation of scientific and behavioral research. And, he worked with many grateful families over the years, helping parents and their children live better lives.
In the spring of 2016, Pat went on an adventure with his friend, Dave Jansen, to shoot black bear in Manitoba. It was a great trip and both came back with their prized bears.
He was diagnosed with small cell lung cancer in September, 2016. He lived to enjoy more time at Leech Lake, our annual Canada trip and a special camping trip with 25 members of the Cotter family in July. He started building a house on Leech Lake in 2017 that his family will always enjoy, knowing that it was his dream to build on the land he and Kay bought 23 years ago. His heart will always be at Leech Lake and his body will rest at Evergreen Cemetery in Walker, Minnesota.
BLOOMINGTON, MN 952 888 7771