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January 19, 2013

Vonnie (C. LaVonne) Cotterman

MEADVILLE — Vonnie (C. LaVonne) Cotterman, 78, of Meadville, went home to be with her Savior and heavenly family Thursday, Jan. 17, 2013, following a period of failing health.

Born Oct. 22, 1934, she was the only child of Vera Shearer Reed Stoyer and William Walding Reed.

Originally from Vandergrift, they moved to this area during World War II and eventually settled in Cochranton where Vonnie attended Cochranton High School. She graduated in 1952 with a commercial diploma. She remained in constant and close contact with her fellow classmates over the 50 plus years since. They were near and dear to her heart. LaVonne was responsible for ensuring their continued contact by personally contacting them for each reunion and organizing monthly lunches.

Vonnie met and fell in love with Charles Leo Cotterman. They married June 25, 1955, and lived in Meadville all of their married lives. Meadville was “home” for Vonnie and she did not consider that any other place could make her as content. She appreciated Meadville and the people of the community. To her, Meadville was a place of beauty and home to loving, caring people.  “The people make a difference every day in Meadville,” she would say, “not just on Make a Difference Day.”

A member of the Allegheny College community, she was for 16 years, and until her retirement, secretary to the Director of Athletics Norm Sundstrom. She enjoyed her work and the interaction with the student-athletes she associated with. Interestingly, she began her career working in the Athletic Department of the college serving as secretary to the Director of Athletics H.P. Way in 1952. She always enjoyed her association with Allegheny and especially the Athletic Department employees.

Vonnie enjoyed traveling to places in the U.S., especially Alaska; however, a favorite foreign trip was to Israel. To walk where Jesus walked was a tremendous experience for her and one she would talk about and remember well.

She joined First Presbyterian Church in Meadville in 1957 and continued over the years to be active in all aspects of church life. She was especially proud to be selected as a deacon. She enjoyed attending the Tuesday morning Bible Study and cherished her family of church friends. Vonnie was involved in the mission of her church, to serve others, and as a result went on three mission trips — to the hills of Kentucky; the Pittsburgh Project here in Pennsylvania; and to Homestead, Fla., after Hurricane Andrew hit that area. She served on the board of the Fairview/Fairmont Outreach program, and was excited about the progress achieved within that organization.

Her camera was always with her and she took many beautiful pictures of Meadville and the surrounding area. While living at Juniper Village, LaVonne photographed and made a scrapbook of all new and existing residents and staff. She enjoyed sharing her many excellent recipes with the readers of the Tribune in the annual Cookbook Contest and was an occasional winner.

She was the proud and loving mother of two daughters, Kathleen Diane Duda and her husband, Dr. John Duda, of Morehead City, N.C., and Saundra Lee Parker and her husband, Richard, of Meadville (her sons-in-law were extremely precious to her — more like sons.); adoring grandmother of Michael John Duda, Charles David Duda and his wife, Kristen VanEe, and Brian James Farmer and his wife, Kristi, of McKean; great-grandmother of Brianna Marie Farmer, Noble James Farmer and Charles Xavier Duda; also surviving nephew Randall Charles Byham, nieces Brenda Hugh and Mary Elizabeth (Beth) Sparks; and her beloved cat, Pretty Boy.

Preceding her in death were her husband; two infant sons; her parents; and her beloved dog, Digger.

Calling hours are Monday from 5 to 8 p.m. at Stephen P. Mizner Funeral Home & Cremation Services Inc., 404 Chestnut St., Meadville, and Tuesday from 10 to 11 a.m. at First Presbyterian Church, 890 Liberty St., Meadville, where the funeral will be at 11 a.m., with the Rev. Larry Peters, associate pastor of First Presbyterian Church, and the Rev. Mark Rusnak, chaplain of AseraCare Hospice, officiating.

A funeral luncheon celebrating her life will follow in the Fellowship Hall.

Her favorite project was trying to get people involved in donating money for water wells in Africa. The family suggests donations be made to Life Outreach International, in care of Stephen P. Mizner Funeral Home & Cremation Services Inc., 404 Chestnut St., Meadville, Pa. 16335.

Interment will take place in Cochranton Cemetery, Cochranton.

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