Beverly Cotton

Date of Birth

September 26th, 1934

Date of Death

July 25th, 2015

Memorial Meeting

Albuquerque Friends Meeting

Minute

We lost our dear Friend, Beverly Cotton, on July 25th, 2015.  She never regained consciousness after an emergency surgery on July 9 and passed away quietly with her sister and nephew at her bedside. Bev was a bigger than life figure, a born leader who possessed a unique spirit and will be missed by those who loved her and whose lives she deeply touched.

Bev was born in Miami, Oklahoma, on September 26, 1934. She was an integral part of the Indian/Cherokee community that lived around Miami, Oklahoma.  Her Native American heritage was an important, fundamental aspect of her beliefs and who Bev was.   She graduated from Lyons Township High School in La Grange, Illinois, and then enrolled at Miami University in Oxford Ohio. She belonged to Kappa Alpha Theta at Miami University, and graduated with a BS in Biology and Physical Education. She taught Biology in Albuquerque Public Schools for 33 years and throughout her life her love of nature was always apparent.  She was devoted to teaching and to her students, some who have remained lifelong friends, reporting that her support was transformative in their lives.  She first taught at Sandia High School, then Del Norte where she won teaching awards and also participated in the Career Enrichment Center. After retirement, she became a drug and alcohol counselor, and also did Life coaching. One of her friends and co-workers in the counseling community mentions that she was very kind, approachable, knowledgeable and easy to be with and one would only hear good things from people who mentioned her name. She loved and attended ACIM teachings and meetings and in later years felt much support from them.

Her smile and embracing heart would win people over and she was an excellent storyteller, although some may mention that her narratives went on a bit too long.  Her stories were often about her teaching and life experience with a bit of philosophizing, but she received the most apt attention when she talked about her Native American Heritage.  Her membership in the Albuquerque Monthly Meeting of the Society of Friends (Quakers) was precious to her and she served in many capacities over the years, often on committees that appreciated and benefitted from her deep insight and caring.  She always reported that many years ago when she first attended a Quaker Meeting, it felt like a homecoming and she felt the Friends to be her soul community and those who she worshipped with to be her spiritual companions.

The heart-felt words of one dear Friend expresses so well what is in the hearts of those who knew her:

“Bev Cotton had the gift of being able to remain seriously true to her own strong principles at the same time as she was laughing.  She told as many jokes about what mattered deeply to her as she did about what seemed inconsequential. What a marvelous story-teller she was!  She had a "natural" instinct for relating evocative experiences, a genuine feeling for how a personal story about real-life human beings could begin and end and carry significant meaning across to rapt friends who heard her.”

Her presence was charged with strong immediacy of being even when the physical limitations of a body suffering pain and disability prevented her from expressing in action her strong perceptive understanding and loving-kindness. Her life was grounded in a wide-open, receptive, sensible mind and laughing heart. She had a presence which still carries her vital spirit and energy into the lives of those who loved her, who love her still, even now that she is gone.