Published May 7, 2021
MELROSE — Herbert Cotterly, Jr. a longtime resident of Melrose, passed away peacefully at home on Friday, April 30, 2021 at age 93.
Herbert was born in Malden on May 18, 1927, son of the late Herbert Cotterly and Elizabeth Gertrude (Scheibe) Cotterly. Herbert was raised in Melrose where he graduated from Melrose High School, Class of 1946. With a sharp mathematical mind, Herb earned his drafting certificate from Franklin Technical Institute and worked for many years as a Design Specialist. He began his working career with the James Millan Manufacturing Company in Malden, then Barry Controls before joining RCA in Burlington where he worked for 32 years. With his engineering expertise, he worked extensively on the Rendezvous Radar Transponder System on the Lunar and Command Modules for the Apollo 11 mission to the moon. For his dedication, he was recognized with the Silver Snoopy Award for his work on the mission.
Growing up around boats, Herb developed a deep passion for sailing, power boats and the ocean. An avid boater, he owned six full-size boats during his life, and thoroughly enjoyed every minute. He was one of the original members of Charlesgate Yacht Club in Cambridge where he docked and maintained his many boats over 60 years. With his family, he often enjoyed trips on his 32-foot Luhrs boat “Obsession” out into Boston Harbor and loved rafting up with friends and fellow yacht club members at World’s End in Hingham.
Herb was always busy, and kept his mind engaged in numerous projects over the years. He meticulously crafted hundreds of model airplanes, boats, and even designed and built an exact scale replica with every small detail of his last boat named appropriately, “Obsession.” He also developed a passion for building and sailing small remote-controlled sailboats called “footy’s.” He often visited Horn Pond in Woburn to sail with fellow enthusiasts and took delight in sharing his knowledge of model building with others. Herb also developed a love for flying, and enjoyed flying his Cessna airplane. Herb was a member of the Northeast R/C Club, the Aristocrats Model Flying Club, and the 107th Flying Club. He was a former member of the New England Model Engineering Society, building many different types of engines.
With a wealth of knowledge and experience, Herb was generous with his time and always offered to help. He could fix anything, had a deep understanding of engines, and having been raised in the Great Depression, never threw anything away. Herb was a dependable, quiet, and supportive father, and grandfather. He was a true and loyal friend to many, and always willing to help his family and friends. He will be deeply missed, but always lovingly remembered.
Herb was the devoted father of Leslie Souza of Tewksbury; Wayne Cotterly and his wife Kathleen of Poland Spring, Maine; and former father-in-law of Stan Souza of Wilmington. Beloved grandfather of Kyle Souza, Kellie Souza, Kevin Souza, Andrew Cotterly, and Erin Cotterly and her husband Greg. Also survived by many longtime friends and neighbors.
Relatives and friends are invited to gather for visiting hours at the Robinson Funeral Home, 809 Main St., Melrose on Tuesday, May 4 from 3-5 p.m., and for his funeral service celebrated on Wednesday at 10 a.m. All attendees are respectfully asked to wear face coverings and maintain social distancing. Interment in Wyoming Cemetery, Melrose. For directions, online tribute visit: RobinsonFuneralHome.com