Daniel Funeral Home & Cremation Service

Curtis F. Cotton DDS

January 16, 1950 – May 6, 2024

Curt Cotton, age 74, passed away peacefully, surrounded by his loving family, on May 6 at the St. Cloud Hospital.  Curt was an inspiration to all who knew him as he courageously endured his battle against cancer with unrelenting strength and optimism.  In celebration of his life, a gathering of family and friends will be held from 4PM to 8PM on Tuesday, May 28, at the Daniel Funeral Home, St. Cloud.  A private interment will take place at a later date.

Curtis Freeman Cotton was born in Sioux City, IA on January 16, 1950 to Vernon and Dorothy (Denny) Cotton.  He spent every summer growing up on Big Watab Lake, Collegeville, MN.  His undergraduate schooling was at Gustavus Adolphus College 1968-1972, and he subsequently attended the University of MN Dental School, graduating in 1976.  He married his college sweetheart, Karen Amundson, in 1977 and served in the US Navy as a dentist at El Toro Marine Base in CA 1976-1978.  Drawn to Big Watab Lake, they moved back to MN and began in private practice in St. Joseph, MN, where he continued his dental career for 42 years.

Raising his family of 3 children at the lake and now, with 5 grandchildren, his most proud triumph is claiming the grandkids are 5th generation to grow up loving the lake he so cherished.

Curt was a gregarious presence in every crowd and was driven by his selfless passion to help others and make a real difference in the world.  Philanthropy and giving back to the communities he served were at the core of his values, and he lived his life generously volunteering endless hours to many charitable foundations.  He was a life-long Lions member since 1980 in both Avon Lions and St. Joseph Lions Clubs, serving several times as President.  Active for 44 years as a Lion, he was awarded the Helen Keller Award for his leadership on the Hearing Foundation and awarded the Melvin Jones Fellow Award for his humanitarian services.  He volunteered additionally on multiple committees and councils in the 5M8 District.

Curt was a Founder of Rich-Spring Chapter of Ducks Unlimited, formed in 1985.  He was a 42-year volunteer and is a Diamond Life Sponsor in Ducks Unlimited.  Additionally, he was a 36-year board of director member for Stearns County Pheasants Forever and a Lifetime Sponsor of the organization.  He is a lifetime member of both the American Dental Association and the Minnesota Dental Association, and was a member of the West Central District and St. Cloud Dental Society.  Instrumental in founding the Mark Zimmer Foundation in St. Joseph, he served as president from 2011 to present, helping those in need in the community of St. Joe.  Dedicated to preserving the lake he loved, Curt served as President of the Big Watab Lake Association for over 40 years.

On the many committees he served, at any bar, at the office, on the water at the lake, Curt lived life BIG, and he made every event more fun.  He was generous, social, honest and compassionate in every aspect of his life.  He adored his family, his patients, and everyone he felt lucky to call a friend.  He will be forever missed.

Curt is survived by his loving wife of 47 years, Karen; son Brandon (Erin); daughter Kelsey (Matt) Milbert; and his 5 grandchildren who filled his heart with immeasurable joy: Margot, Elise and Karin Milbert; Charlie and Daisy Cotton.

He was preceded in death by his parents, sister: Kay Hughes; sister-in-law: Kim Adamsheck; and his dear son, Brady.  In lieu of flowers, the family requests memorials for his many favorite charities.


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I am so sorry for your loss. It is all so hard. Curt and Joe gave me some great memories.

I share the Big Watab Lake magic with Curt and so many others. So many memories of Curt and his family. I will always remember the fun in the sun, swimming, boating, skiing and not to mention that infamous “Tarzan” call that the Cotton family brought to the lake. My deepest sympathy to Karen and family for their loss. I wish you comfort in knowing the love that comes from Spirit. Sue

Family, My heart goes out to yours at this time of grieving.


28 May


Daniel Funeral Home, St. Cloud

Schedule Details

In celebration of his life, a gathering of family and friends will be held from 4PM to 8PM on Tuesday, May 28, at the Daniel Funeral Home, St. Cloud.