James Cottingham of Corpus Christi died on September 10, 2020, following treatment for pneumonia. He was 83 years old.
A practicing anesthesiologist for more than 30 years, first at the Naval Air Station Hospital and then at Doctors Regional Medical Center, Jim was a devoted husband and father of three children. He served in the United States Navy Medical Corp, ran cattle on a small South Texas ranch, and was a longtime member of the Corpus Christi Country Club, where he could usually be found on the golf course.
Jim was born in 1937 at Fred Roberts Memorial Hospital on Up River Road, just outside the then-city limits of Corpus Christi. His parents, MD and Mabel Cottingham, ran the Cottingham Sash and Door Co. on Blevins Street. After World War II, the family moved to Bandera and established the Cottingham Lumber Co. Jim was an outfielder on the Bandera High School baseball team and played clarinet in the school's marching band.
Jim moved to Austin for his junior and senior years, living with relatives while attending the old Austin High School on Rio Grande Street. He graduated from Austin High in 1955 and attended The University of Texas at Austin.
While at UT, he met fellow undergraduate, Linda Yancey of Dallas. They were married in 1959 in Dallas, where Jim attended The University of Texas Southwestern Medical School. The couple moved to Rockville, Maryland, while Jim completed his medical internship and residency at the United States Naval Hospital in Bethesda. His work at the hospital included assignment as physician at President Kennedy's funeral and at President Johnson's inauguration.
Jim and Linda moved to Corpus Christi in 1965 and he worked for several years at the hospital at Naval Air Station Corpus Christi, while occasionally "moonlighting" at other local hospitals. During these busy years, Jim found time to carefully restore a 1932 Ford Model-A coupe. With Mom and Dad in front and two kids in the rumble seat, top cruising speed was about 45 m.p.h.
Jim was honorably discharged from the Navy in 1969 and he began his long association with Doctors Regional Medical Center, where he served as Chief of the Anesthesiology Department, Chief of Staff, and member of the Board of Trustees. Jim was an active member of the Nueces County Medical Society, the Texas Medical Association, the American Society of Anesthesiologists, and the Texas Society of Anesthesiologists (TSA). He served as TSA President from 1988-1989 and received the society's Distinguished Service Award in 2004.
Jim and Annette (Katz) Berry married in Corpus Christi in 1992 and were inseparable for 28 happy years. They especially liked dancing at local country and western dance halls and attending Corpus Christi Symphony Orchestra concerts. Following their respective retirements, Jim and Annette enjoyed many visits to Kona, Hawaii, as well as travel to Mexico, China, Europe, and Israel. Together they made several trips to Guatemala for charitable clothing and medical work.
Jim's golf game never approached scratch, but he loved the game and was among the most accomplished lost-ball scroungers to ever walk eighteen holes. He spent more time kicking through the rough than pondering his next shot and often carried a telescoping extension pole to snag balls from water hazards. While he donated thousands of found balls to schools and charities, Jim kept favorite logo balls on a wall display in his workshop next to newspaper articles from the Corpus Christi Caller-Times and "Ripley's Believe-It-Or-Not" that featured him and his collection.
Jim was preceded in death by both parents, by Linda Yancey Cottingham, and by his brother Jerry Cottingham.
He is survived by his wife, Annette Cottingham of Corpus Christi; his brother, Lon Cottingham of Kingwood; his sons, Philip Cottingham of Austin and Kenneth Cottingham of Morro Bay, California; his daughter, Katy Green of Houston; his step-sons, Richard Berry of Dallas and Randy Berry of Corpus Christi; his step-daughter, Toby Berry of Houston; his grandaughters, Lilith and Elspeth Cottingham of Austin; his grandsons, Zachary and Nicholas Green of Houston; his grandaughter, Rebecca Hader of Guthrie, Oklahoma; his great-grandchildren, Wrigley Ross and Oliver Hader; and his step-grandchildren, Melissa, Adam and David Berry, and Corey and Jacob Helfand.
Due to the Corona virus pandemic, Jim will be laid to rest at a private graveside service. Funeral arrangements are entrusted to Seaside Funeral Home of Corpus Christi. Condolences may be sent at the Seaside Funeral Home website by selecting the "Share a memory" link on Jim's obituary page.
In lieu of flowers, the family suggests that memorial donations in Jim's name may be made to the Temple Beth El in Corpus Christi, the National Holocaust Museum in Washington, D.C., or the Corpus Christi Symphony Orchestra.
Jim was fond of the poem "Timepiece" by R. H. Grenville, published in the Saturday Evening Post in 1953:
"By golden figures on a dial
Or lengthening shadows in the grass
We mark time's passage unaware
That it is really we who pass"
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