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Curran D. Cotton

Published: Friday, Oct. 26, 2012 11:57 a.m. CDT

Curran D. Cotton,  77, of Newton died on Wednesday evening, Oct. 24, at Skiff Medical Center in Newton under the care of Skiff Hospice.

A memorial service will be at 2:30 p.m. Monday, Oct. 29, at the Congregational United Church of Christ in Newton. Family committal service will be at 1 p.m. Monday at the Newton Union Cemetery. Close friends are invited to attend. Please meet at the funeral home by 12:45 p.m. A time of visitation with the family will be from 3 to 5 p.m. Sunday at the Pence-Reese Funeral Home in Newton. Memorials may be designated in Curran’s name to the University of Evansville, College of Engineering and may be left at the church or at Pence-Reese Funeral Home 

Curran D. Cotton was born on Nov. 29, 1934, in Evansville, Ind. He graduated from Evansville College (University of Evansville) with a bachelor’s degree in electrical engineering and President of the Class of 1957. Curran married Jane Ann Hermann, also from Evansville, on Sept. 7, 1957.

After serving his tour of duty with the United States Air Force, he relocated to Newton, Iowa, in 1961 and began his career with Maytag, retiring in 1998 as the vice president for research and development. 

His passion in life was service to his community with a strong focus on youth. He was involved with Boy Scouts of America programs for over 30 years, serving on the Mid-Iowa Council Executive Board and as the Cubmaster and Scoutmaster for Pack and Troop 354, respectively.  He supported the Newton YMCA as a member of the board and chairman for a fund drive. He also assisted in the fund raising campaign for the Newton Senior High School Center for Performance. 

To stimulate the imagination of youth, Curran served as a mentor for the Newton Community School District’s talented and gifted program classes being recognized in 2003 with the Outstanding Volunteer Award at the Iowa State University First Lego League robotics team competition and the District’s 2005 Friend of Education Award for his coaching efforts. 

In 2004, Curran was one of five finalists for the annual Des Moines Register’s Iowa Star Award.

Curran’s service to the community also extended to the United Way, Junior Achievement, Iowa Sculpture Festival in Newton, fundraising for Skiff Hospital Hospice, Newton Millennium Committee Chairperson, Newton Rotary Club, and in several church leadership roles.

Curran was often cited in his professional life for excellence in engineering. Most notably was his 1996 recognition by receiving the Schneeberger and Design News Quality Engineering Awards for his leadership in Maytag and the appliance industry. While at Maytag he received 18 patents for his innovative laundry product designs. 

He served on the Accreditation Board for Engineering and Technology (ABET) Industrial Advisory Council.  He supported higher education by serving either as a member or chairperson of Iowa State University’s Engineering Advisory Council for ten years. For his alma mater he served on the Engineering and Business Advisory Council, the Alumni Association Foundation and the Alumni Representative to the Board of Trustees. 

In 2006, Curran was presented the University of Evansville Edie Bates Alumni Volunteer Service Award for his service to his community and the University. The next year, he presented the commencement address, and the University conferred upon him the Honorary Doctorate of Engineering Science.

Curran is survived by his wife, Jane Ann; three children: David (Mary Ann) Cotton, Lisa Welke and Steven (Melissa) Cotton; five grandchildren: Katherine and Joshua Cotton, Alex and Rachel Welke, and Griffin Cotton; one great-grandson: Carter Joseph; and their two exchange student “daughters:” Meike Horstmann (Germany), Viktoria Prudska (Ukraine), and their families. His parents, Robert and Marie Cotton, and his brother Jerry Cotton, preceded Curran in death.

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