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Richard Lee Cotta
Dec 16, 1943 – Mar 16, 2019
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The family of Richard L. Cotta from Hughson, CA, is very sad to share the unexpected passing of their husband and father. Richard lived and loved life to the fullest throughout his 75 years. A man of strength, integrity and intellect, he made personal connections throughout the world. He served as a strong representative for local and national dairy and agricultural communities. Richard received many awards throughout his career in the dairy industry, not the least of which were distinguished recognitions by the United States Congress, the California State Assembly, and the California State Senate. Though he was honored by these accolades, his greatest reward was that his life’s work was devoted to something he truly loved. 

Richard’s impact on the dairy industry spread far and wide, beginning in his early childhood, having been raised on a dairy, to his education at Cal Poly, which led to a job classifying cattle in 49 of the 50 states. His success and expertise were widely recognized and eventually earned him the prestigious position of CEO of United Dairy Men of California, Western United Dairymen, San Joaquin Valley Dairymen, and ultimately CEO of California Dairies Inc. – one of the largest cooperatives in the nation. 

Much sought after to serve on various industry and charitable boards, Richard gave willingly of his time and talent. Closest to his heart were the 4H Organization, the Father McElligott Sacred Heart School Foundation, and the Deans Advisory Council and Animal Science Development Board at UC Davis. 

Richard’s love for his work was only surpassed by his intense and loyal love for his family. Whether it was being the “big winner” at the family poker night, proudly stirring the polenta pot at Christmas Eve, enjoying time away in wine country, working in the orchards, or spending days at a time in nature hunting, the memories will forever be remembered and cherished. Richard is remembered and loved by many, among them his wife Jackie, his son Michael, his daughter Angela, his son-in-law Kit, his mother Helen, and his sister Beverly “Babe” Lucas and family Ben, Mitzi, Matt, Ronda, Kylee, and Bennett. He is preceded in death by one of his biggest role models, his father, Albino Cotta. 

Richard’s family and friends will honor all that he added to their lives with a visitation on Wednesday, March 20th, from 2 to 6 p.m. at Turlock Funeral Home, 425 N. Soderquist Rd., Turlock, followed by the rosary service at 7:30 p.m. at Sacred Heart Catholic Church, 1200 Lyons Ave., Turlock. A funeral mass will be held at 10 a.m. the following morning, Thursday, March 21st, at Sacred Heart Catholic Church. Private interment will take place at a later time.

In lieu of flowers, the family kindly asks that donations be made to the Father McElligott Sacred Heart School Foundation – P.O. Box 1254, Turlock, CA 95381.