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Edward J. Cotter Jr.—Derby Storms Founder

posted: Jan 23, 2012 3:42 pm

Edward J. Cotter Jr., age 91, devoted husband of the late Eleanor Wilhelmy Cotter, of Derby, passed away January 21, 2012 at Griffin Hospital with his loving family by his side.

Edward will be remembered by his daughter Ellen Lenart and son in law Thomas Lenart of Derby; his son James E. Cotter Sr. and his wife Pamela Walsh Cotter of Bethlehem.

Edward was predeceased by his parents Edward J. Cotter Sr. and Elizabeth Cotter, his brother William F. Cotter and sisters Elizabeth Marren & Katherine Conlon, all of Derby. Edward enjoyed the love of his seven grandchildren and their families, Thomas Lenart Jr. and Jennifer Rumbin of Orange, David Lenart and his wife Cady Gardella of Derby, Brienne Lenart of Derby, James E. Cotter Jr., Cody Cotter, Joni Cotter and Samuel Cotter of Bethlehem.

Edward was also beloved by his many nieces and nephews.

Mr. Cotter was a World War II veteran and served in the U.S. Navy. He was awarded several service medals including the battle of Okinawa & the Asiatic Pacific medal and was active in many Valley Veteran organizations.

Edward worked as a photographer for the Evening Sentinel, the Connecticut Post and the New Haven Register and covered virtually every newsworthy event that happened in the lower Naugatuck Valley over his 50 year career.

Edward was the police photographer for the Derby Police Department, an active community leader in the city of Derby achieving numerous humanitarian awards, founding father of the Storm Engine Company Ambulance &Rescue Corps, Valley Emergency Medical Services Paramedic Program, Valley Fire Chief’s Training School and a longtime volunteer Derby firefighter, fire chief and fire commissioner, fire instructor at the New Haven Regional Training academy in New Haven and was inducted into the Connecticut Firefighter’s Association Hall of Fame in 2009.

Funeral services will be held on Thursday, January 26, with friends asked to go directly to St. Mary’s Church on Elizabeth St. in Derby, where a Mass of Christian Burial will be celebrated at 11:00 a.m.

Burial with military honors will follow in Pine Grove Cemetery in Ansonia. Friends may call on Wednesday, 4:00 p.m. to 8:00 p.m. from The Jenkins King & Malerba Funeral Home, 12 Franklin St. Ansonia.

In lieu of flowers, contributions may be made in Ed’s memory to the Valley Community Foundation – 253-A Elizabeth Street Derby, CT 06418 or online at

All donations will benefit his two beloved organizations, The Storm Engine Company Ambulance & Rescue Corps & St. Mary’s Church of Derby.

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