John Cotti-Diaz, 54, of Fort Leonard Wood, Mo., died on April 12, 2014, at Uvalde Memorial Hospital, following a long illness. A memorial service will be held on Saturday, April 26, at 11 a.m. at the Copperas Cove Municipal Cemetery in Copperas Cove. Afterwards he will be interred there alongside his parents. He was born April 27, 1959, at Fort Leonard Wood, Mo., to Roswitha Anna Rausch and Jose Ramon Cotti-Diaz. The fifth of their eight children, he was named after John the Baptist by his mother, in supplication after John’s month-premature and life-threatening birth. Despite a precarious start, including being asthmatic for much of his childhood, Cotti-Diaz grew into a fast and outstanding teenage athlete who loved running, softball and football. As a teenager, he listened to the radio religiously every week to Casey Kasem’s American Top 40, meticulously recording the weekly results on paper. According to the family, he also became a lifelong fan of the Cincinnati Reds and Miami Dolphins professional sports teams, thrilling in their dynastic World Series and Super Bowl runs in the 70s. The family said Cotti-Diaz, after graduating from Roosevelt Roads High School in Puerto Rico in 1976, promoted peace and stability for the United States by proudly serving in the U.S. Army. His Cold War tours of duty included Nuremberg in West Germany and Naples, Italy. The Secretary of the Army honored his meritorious service with the Army Commendation Medal in 1980. Cotti-Diaz attained the rank of Specialist 5; after extending his original four-year enlistment by two years, he received an honorable discharge in 1982. He subsequently served the people of the United States with 22 additional years of federal service, including civilian tenures with the departments of the Air Force and Army, the Defense Finance and Accounting Service, and the U.S. Customs and Border Patrol. At the time of his death, he was assigned as a mission support specialist at the Uvalde Border Patrol Station following a recent transfer from sector headquarters in Del Rio. According to the family, Cotti-Diaz was a thoughtful and compassionate man who feared and worshipped God and humbled himself to understand and follow His guidance and will. He always thought of those that others had forgotten. When you knew him, you were a stranger to loneliness and neglect. The family said he loved his family and its diverse heritage, cooking (especially for others), writing poetry, reading, listening to a wide range of music, break dancing and “moon walking,” good jokes and long, deep conversations. He had several of his written works published, including humor in The Reader’s Digest. He loved to engage people with his mind and having them engage his mind. The family added that Cotti-Diaz was prepared and anticipated what lies beyond this life. As he often exclaimed when facing uncertainty, “I’ll be alright.” He was preceded in death by his parents. He is survived by one sister, Ramona Clark of Pensacola, Fla.; six brothers, Raymond Cotti of McGregor, Joe Cotti and wife, Cathi, of Pensacola, Fla., Elmar Cotti and wife, Karen, of Eldridge, Iowa, Paul Cotti and wife, Toni, of Grand Prairie, Donald Cotti and wife, Rena, of Temple and Daniel Cotti-Diaz of Ansbach, Germany; six nieces, Crystal Strama, Stephanie Taylor, Tasha Cotti, Bridget Bachman, Megan Cotti and Kiera Cotti; four nephews, Michael Messer, Raymond Cotti, Richard Messer and Patryk Cotti; and several great-nieces. THE PRECEDING IS A PAID OBITUARY.
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