March 4, 1941 -
September 25, 2020
Shirley Darlene Cotta passed away at the age of 79 on September 25, 2020 in Merced, CA. She was born to Thomas and Opal Bartley in Galesburg, Illinois. Some years later, she moved west with her family to California.Shirley attended and graduated from Merced High School, where she met the love of her life, Manuel J. Cotta. Manuel and Shirley were married in 1958 and made their home in El Nido, CA, where they raised their six loving children. Shirley worked and enjoyed a variety of jobs in her lifetime. She worked a short time in retail,
and then clerical/bookkeeping, and for 17 years, worked as a van driver for special needs children and librarian for El Nido Elementary School. She adored the children she worked with there and they were equally fond of her. However, of all the jobs Shirley held, the occupation she loved and was most proud of was that of being a wife, mom, and grandma. She loved to speak of her family.
Often, when she would tell someone new that she had given birth to six children, they were surprised, since she was of such small stature; however,those who knew her well knew that, although petite, she was one strong lady. When they were not working, Manuel and Shirley enjoyed a very active social life among a wide circle of friends. In the early years of their marriage, they enjoyed square dancing as well as bowling. They also loved and had a knack for gardening around their country home; growing flowers and plants of all kinds, including a
huge veggie garden every summer, the bounty from which they were happy to share with neighbors. Long summer camping trips at their favorite spot near Yosemite was something Manuel and Shirley looked forward to eagerly, every year, along with their children. They made many wonderful memories there together. Once all the children were grown, they enjoyed traveling in their motorhome, exploring the mountains and beaches and other areas of interest across California.
Shirley is survived by her sons Manuel Cotta III of Merced, Paul Cotta of Washington, Aaron Cotta of Czech Rep., daughters Stephanie Newby of Oklahoma, Sheila Guthrie of Merced,
and Ann Pace of Merced, twelve grandchildren and five great
grandchildren. Also surviving are her sisters, Dorothy Mellander of Watsonville and Carol Anderson of Wyoming, in addition to many dear friends. Shirley was predeceased in 2002 by Manuel, her beloved husband of 44 years, and in 2011 by her cherished grandson Shanon Guthrie, her only brother, Wayne Bartley in 2012, followed by her loving daughter-in-law Torey Cotta in 2014.
Shirley wasimmensely proud of her family and often expressed profound gratitude for the blessing of them. She leaves behind countless treasured memories and a beautiful legacy of love and laughter. Mom, we love and miss you SO very much. But rejoice in knowing you are once again with Dad and we are only saying "Bye for now."
Burial willbe at Calvary Cemetery, Merced on Friday, October 9 at 10am, with arrangements under the direction of Ivers and Alcorn Funeral home in Merced.
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