Keith Leslie Cottrell

Keith Leslie Cottrell, 87, of Merrill, WI and Aurora, IL died on January 4, 2022, at Pine Crest Nursing Home in Merrill.  Keith was born in Irma, Wisconsin, on Dec. 3rd, 1934, the son of Florence and Arba (Barney) Cottrell. He graduated from Merrill High School, and later earned degrees from Aurora University and Governors State University. He served in the Wisconsin National Guard and Army Reserves as a Specialist, 4th Class 1960 – 1962. He was married several times, notably to Joan Ruth Hotchkiss-Cottrell (married 1966 – 1972) and Claudia Cottrell (1991 until her death January 2nd, 2018). He lived for many years in northern Illinois, including several homes in Aurora, most recently from 1989 until 2021. He worked as a social worker and as an alcoholism and addiction counselor.  He enjoyed spending time with his grandchildren, gardening, baking, and watching old Westerns. He held a small plane pilot license, and loved to fly, often accompanied by his best friend, Aubrey Pratt.

He is survived by his children and their partners: Linda Cottrell and Roy Grutchfield of Norway, and Keith David and Nicole Cottrell of West Bend, WI; his stepchildren and their partners: Heidi and Michael Buckley of North Aurora, Eric and Mary Hendershott of Downers Grove, and Jason and Amy Hendershott of Yorkville; ten grandchildren: Kiara Cottrell and Blake Grutchfield, Payton Wentworth and Lily Belle Cottrell, Benjamin and Paige Buckley, Ryan and Tyler Hendershott, and Ava and Luke Hendershott; his siblings: Dorothy Frohn and Alson Cottrell; and numerous nieces and nephews, great nieces and nephews, sisters-in-law and brothers-in-law, cousins, and other family who loved him.  He was preceded in death by his parents, his wife, his sister, Fern Likhite, his brother-in-law, Vinay Likhite, his sister-in-law, Joy Cottrell, his nephew, Keith Vinay Likhite, his niece, Tanya Smyth, and his best friend, Aubrey Pratt.

A memorial service will be held later in the year. In lieu of flowers, his family requests that donations be made in his memory to a charity of your choice.  Taylor-Stine Funeral Home & Cremation Services, Merrill, is assisting the family.  Online condolences may be made at

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