Helen Marie Donovan Cotton passed away peacefully in her home on Tuesday, March 7, 2017. She was born in Salem, MA on March 15, 1918.
Helen will be fondly remembered as a proud American and Pensacola Beach Elementary School Volunteer of the Year. She enthusiastically shared her stories of serving in the U.S. Coast Guard during WW II. She was in the first class of women enlisted in the armed forces and proudly served with her four brothers. She volunteered at the beach school for 25 years, up until her 92nd birthday. Mrs. Cotton taught the students patriotic lessons on how to fold and respect our American flag. She led the kindergarten class in The Pledge of Allegiance to the flag every morning. Mrs. Cotton was known as the Sand Dollar Queen because she punched out thousands of paper sand dollars to the students for "Caught You Being Good" behavior.
Helen was preceded in death by her parents Leo and Helen Donovan; her husband of 64 years, I.B. Cotton; brothers Leo, Jim, Jack, and Bill Donovan and her sister Mary Carpenter. She is survived by her sons Tommy Cotton (Amanda), Billy Cotton (Debbie), and daughter Debbie Campanella (Thomas); her grandchildren Cici Dixon, Nathan Cotton (Cindy), Tyler Cotton, Lauren and Gregory Campanella; her great grandchildren Will and Hope Dixon and Mackenzie and Sophia Cotton.
A Memorial service will be held at 1 pm on Monday, March 13, 2017 at Pensacola Beach Community Church. A reception will follow the service in Randall Hall.
In lieu of flowers donations may be made in her memory to Pensacola Beach Elementary School or Covenant Hospice of Northwest Florida. Sincere appreciation for their love and support goes to Nancy Batt, Denise Keever, MaryAnn Rutledge, Sylvia Stock, Laura Mislevy, and Dee Pritchett.