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"The life of the dead is placed in the memory of the living"
Marcus Tullius Cicero


Oteria Cotten

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Oteria Cotten was born on April 7, 1928 in Pittsburgh, PA and was the first child to Estella Green and William Smith, Sr. She had six siblings she adored with three still living – William, Jr., Gwendolyn, and Antoinette. At her request, Oteria was cared for at home by her family and transitioned on Sunday, December 6, 2020.

Oteria attended South Hill High School in Pittsburgh where she met her soulmate, James, at a school dance. Following high school, she attended Duquesne University and studied business.

James and Oteria continued to dance throughout their 73 years of marriage. During their marriage, Oteria was the epitome of a loving wife. She was supportive of her husband, standing tall next to him throughout their journey through life.

Loving, caring, and nurturing: Oteria was a beautiful soul inside and out. She was selfless and cared deeply about the well-being of others. She would always be present to lend a helping hand and accommodate others. Oteria loved life, sports, politics, anddancing. She had so many talents – from baking sugar donuts and cakes to playing the organ and accordion. Oteria was not only nurturing, but also a comedian: her candid personality would keep everyone laughing. Her well-rounded charisma would make anyone feel at home.

Passionately known as Mom, Grandmom or Grams, Oteria was the matriarch/queen of the Cotten family. As the consummate home engineer, she took care of her husband and raised 10 children and 2 grandchildren. She helped maintain organization and togetherness within the family. She instilled kindness,generosity, and compassion in her children.

Oteria leaves behind to cherish her loving memory, her husband, James (predeceased); brother, MSgt William Smith, Jr. (Deborah); sisters, Gwendolyn, and Antoinette (Benjamin); sisters-in-law, Lorraine (Roland), and Charolette (Russell-predeceased); 10 children – Charen; LtCol (Ret) James M. (Berthel); Marlane (Tyrone); Wannetta (Cmdr (Ret) Ernest L. Jolly); Christina (Howard); Terie (Anthony); Arlene (Mark); SMSgt (Ret) Dale A. (Zina); Kevin; Lauren (Aundrey); along with 2 grandchildren she raised – Deonna (Thomas); and Dustin; 14 additional grandchildren; 21 great-grandchildren; 3 great-great grandchildren; and a host of nieces, nephews, and friends.


Celebration of Life Service
Friday, December 11, 2020 11am
Walk through viewing, 9am - 11am at the TL Hutton Family & Friends Funeral Services, 869 Beverly Road, Burlington, NJ
Interment: BGWCD Veteran Memorial Cemetery, Arneytown, NJ.

Service will be live streamed 11am at


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Service Information

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Oteria Cotten Guest Book
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