Obituary

Lloyd Dean Cotton, age 92, of Licking, Mo., passed away at home Oct. 29, 2021, following a brief battle with cancer.

Mr. Cotton was born in Licking, Mo., on April 19, 1929, and grew up in the area, the eldest of four of children.  Lloyd attended Licking Schools and worked on farms and in the Fort Leonard Wood PX. He graduated from Licking High School in 1950 and entered the Army in 1951, joining the 77th Infantry Rifle Company in Fort Riley, Kan. He served in the Korean War from 1951 to 1953, achieving the rank of corporal with a light weapons specialty and earning the Korean Service Medal, the United Nations Service Medal and the Combat Infantryman Badge for active ground combat.

He fought on the front lines in the ‘Punchbowl’ and was wounded at Heartbreak Ridge. Upon his honorable discharge in 1953, he returned to Texas County and worked at International Shoe Company in Houston, Mo. From 1957 to 1968, he was employed in the defense industry at Curtis, Emerson Electric and McDonnell-Douglas in St. Louis, and in security at the Titan Missile Silo Complex in Deer Trail, Colo., where Cold War ICBM missiles were housed. In 1969, he began working for Rawlings Sporting Goods in Licking as a cutter, and later as a floor runner. He also served as a union shop steward for 10 years. He retired from Rawlings in 1991.

Mr. Cotton loved to fish. Many enjoyable days were spent on Texas County ponds, the Big Piney River, the Current River and Norfolk Lake exercising his trusty Zebco 33.

He loved to drive. He wore cars out. He always kept an atlas on hand and was famous for “driving straight through,” whether it be to Rolla, Denver or Seattle.

He loved airplanes too, having helped to build them for years, and was fascinated by the miracle of flight. Many hours were spent in the spotter’s lot at Lambert Field watching planes take off and land with the folding binoculars he kept in his glove compartment. He likewise could often be seen visiting with buddies at Houston airport.

He loved to talk. He had an encyclopedic memory of local history. He enjoyed team sports of all types and could often be seen attending local basketball and baseball games, long after his own children and grandchildren had graduated. He almost never missed a game, or a competition, or a performance. He had a remarkably accurate set shot well into his 60s that was frequently demonstrated (“there it is…”) on the dirt basketball court in the Cotton back yard on Old Salem Road. He also played slow pitch softball on town teams and was a fan of diving from the old rope at Boiling Springs on the Big Piney.

He was married for 47 years to Anna Marie (Earp) Cotton, and lovingly raised her children as his own.

Mr. Cotton as preceded in death by his parents, George Cotton and Jennie (Rodgers) Cotton; two younger siblings, Donald Cotton and Beverly Krewson; and stepdaughter, Lisa Fields Baker.

He is survived by his wife; his sister, Norma Cummins of Raymondville; his children, Dr. James Cotton of Issaquah, Wash.; Lisa Yoder of Holts Summit, Mo.; Robert Houke of Seymour, Mo.; and Rick Fields of Licking, Mo.; six grandchildren and five great-grandchildren.

Services were 1 p.m. Tuesday, Nov. 2, 2021, at Fox Funeral Home, Licking.  A visitation was noon – 1 p.m. Grant Heithold officiated.  Interment followed at the Licking Cemetery where military honors were rendered.  Arrangements were entrusted to Fox Funeral Home.  Online condolences may be left at www.foxfh.net.  In lieu of flowers, the family suggests a donation to Phelps Health Hospice at https://phelpshealth.org/foundation/donate.

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