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The passing of George Cottrell at such an early age will be felt in Shelby County not only by his large and loving family but also by the public in general.
For Mr. Cottrell, who died last week after battling amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS – Lou Gehrig’s Disease), not only was a motivating coach, an inspiring teacher and a fount of incredible talent, but he was one of those true and fleeting elements for many of us: a role model.
In a time of the fragmenting of the family in America, Mr. Cottrell stood as a resolute example for as a father and leader. He walked the life he professed and was known to deliver stern direction followed by a loving embrace.
That hundreds showed up to mourn his death was unsurprising, because Mr. Cottrell inspired not only the students he taught and coached at Shelby County High School but also members of his church, where his moving voice delivered praise and reverence.
Yes, Mr. Cottrell will be missed by all of us, but we hope that the lessons he sowed with young people in the community will take root and continue.
Perhaps that, more than any other dedication, could be the everlasting testimony to a life well-lived.