Keith Cotton

Obituary of Keith Carroll Cotton

On November 9, 2019, Keith Carroll Cotton, loving husband and father of two, passed away peacefully at his home after valiantly battling brain cancer.  Keith was born on April 12, 1976 in Lafayette, Indiana, to Bryon and Pam Cotton.  He was the oldest of three children.   


When he was 10 years old, he moved with his family to Bend, Oregon.  Keith spent his childhood playing with his siblings and friends along the Deshutes River.  While Keith possessed a quiet and calm demeanor, he loved adventure.  As a child, he took flying lessons and learned how to sail.  Keith developed a life-long love of Chicago Cubs baseball.  One of his life’s dreams was to see the Cubs win the World Series—a dream that came true in 2016.  Keith was thrilled to attend Games three and five at Wrigley Field. Go Cubs Goooo!


Keith graduated from Bend High School in 1994.  The following year, he moved to Eugene, Oregon, to attend the University of Oregon where he majored in Literature.  He then moved to Olympia, Washington, to attend The Evergreen State College, and went on to earn a Master’s Degree in Environmental Science.  Keith enjoyed working for the Olympia Library and volunteering as an editor, writer and organization President of the South Puget Environmental Education Clearinghouse (SPEECH).


In 2001, Keith started working at the Washington State Department of Transportation.  He would go on to work in several different offices throughout the department, including Planning, Environmental Services and Public Transportation.  Keith’s vision, diligence, and sense of innovation helped WSDOT develop and implement a number of projects related to the state Commute Trip Reduction Program. His efforts on sustainable transportation led to policy updates that modernized our approach to some of our state’s most critical challenges, like climate change, land use, energy, and equity.  Keith developed many strong professional and personal relationships with his colleagues at WSDOT.   It’s also where he met his future wife, Megan.


Keith and Megan wed in August, 2009.  They loved to travel and had many once-a-lifetime experiences, including scuba diving in Thailand, taking cooking classes in Morocco and attending a Masquerade Ball at the Palace of Versailles in France.  Keith loved the outdoors.  He spent his summer days in the garden, camping, hiking and kayaking, and winter weekends snowboarding and snow shoeing.  He also loved reading, cooking, music, movies and playing board games. 


In January 2013, Keith was diagnosed with brain cancer and underwent treatment throughout the following year.  Despite this terrible diagnosis, Keith chose to focus on his many blessings and lived life to its fullest.  


In June 2015, Keith and Megan welcomed their daughter Grace into the world. Keith was an amazing father.  He resigned his position at WSDOT to be a stay-at-home dad.  He and Gracie loved exploring all of the parks around the Olympia area.   In April 2018, Keith and Megan welcomed their son William.  


Above all, Keith loved and lived for his family, his faith, and his friends. He was ceaselessly patient and gentle. He was impossibly giving and thoughtful. We will all miss his radiant and unending warmth, his intelligence and quick wit, bookish and modest charm, his sterling and sanguine cool, his calming and demure influence and, above all, his genuine and humble grace.


Keith’s legacy and memory will continue to live on in the hearts and minds of his wife, Megan; children, Grace and William; his grandfather, Walter Cotton of Indiana; parents, Byron and Pam Cotton of Olympia; siblings, Matthew Cotton (Ellen) of Tacoma, and Jenny Purscelley (Ryan) of Snohomish; several nieces and nephews; and the many friends he made during his 43 years with us.  


Services will be held Saturday, November 23, 2019 at 11:00 a.m. at Gloria Dei Lutheran Church in Olympia.  Donations may be made in lieu of flowers to the Seattle Brain Cancer Walk.  




To send flowers to the family or plant a tree in memory of Keith Cotton, please visit Tribute Store

Memorial Service

11:00 am
Saturday, November 23, 2019
Gloria Dei Lutheran Church
1515 Harrison Ave. NW
Olympia, Washington, United States
Share Your Memory of