obit cotant

Clifford J. “Cliff” Cotant, 1931 – 2019

Clifford J. Cotant, 87, of Warren, R.I., passed away peacefully in the presence of his loving family on Sunday, Jan. 13, 2019, at the Philip Hulitar Inpatient Center in Providence, R.I.

Born in Fort Dodge, Iowa on March 12, 1931, he was the son of Charles S. and Elizabeth (Thome) Cotant. Cliff was raised in a loving family with seven siblings. He graduated from Sacred Heart School in Fort Dodge in 1949.

Cliff served from 1951 to 1955 in the U.S. Air Force during the Korean War, stationed at Luke Air Force Base in Glendale, Ariz., and from April 1952 to April 1953 at Kimpo AFB, near Seoul, South Korea.

After returning to civilian life, he joined his family that had relocated to Redondo Beach, Calif. He married, started his own family, attended Santa Monica City College, and began a long and varied career path. Cliff was a chemical lab engineer at McDonnell Douglas Aircraft Co. during the 1960s, where he contributed to the NASA Gemini Program that led to the Apollo lunar missions.

Cliff also enjoyed welcoming diners for many years, as a restaurant maitre d’ at several Southern California gourmet establishments.

Always industrious, Cliff built his own painting and decorating business, where he refined his design skills. He loved building and renovating, traveling, gardening, cooking and entertaining. A big joy for Cliff was gathering family and friends at his table for a special occasion, or just to enjoy a Sunday brunch on his patio.

After retirement, Cliff moved to a peaceful, hilltop home in Huntington, W. Va., where he enjoyed his beautiful surroundings, making new friends and feeding native birds and deer. Cliff moved to Rhode Island in 2014, to be near family. He enjoyed meeting new people wherever he went, offering an open hand and genuine smile.

Cliff was preceded in death by parents, Charles S. and Elizabeth Cotant; brother, Charles Cotant, and his wife Gladys (Hap); brother, Donald Cotant; sister, Barbara Bromley and her husband, Edward; sister, Mary Murley; and brother-in-law, Leonard Ragels. He is survived by his daughter, Debra Abbate and her husband, Mark, of Barrington, R.I.; son, Mark Cotant of Redondo Beach, Calif.; granddaughter, Lauren Abbate of Queens, N.Y.; sister, Beverly Ragels of Redondo Beach, Calif.; sister, Kathleen Arbuthnot and her husband, Joel, of Gig Harbor, Wash.; sister, Theresa Foster and her husband, John, of Tehachapi, Calif.; sister-in-law, Dionne Cotant of Branson, Mo.; former wife, Louise Evans of Torrance, Calif.; and many loving nephews and nieces.

Cliff will be remembered as a devoted and treasured son and brother, a gentle and loving father, a proud and nurturing grandfather, a caring uncle and a kind and supportive friend. His generosity of spirit will endure, as he is loved, he is cherished, and will forever be missed.

Viewing hours will be from 3 to 6 p.m. on Sunday, Jan. 27, 2019, at Wood Family Funeral Service, 321 W. F St., Tehachapi, Calif. A Funeral Mass will be held on Monday, Jan. 28, 2019, at 10 a.m., at Saint Malachy Catholic Church, 407 W. E St., Tehachapi, Calif., with military honors and burial following at Tehachapi Public Cemetery - Westside, located at 920 Enterprise Way, Tehachapi, Calif.

In lieu of flowers, contributions to Hope Hospice Rhode Island at 1085 North Main St., Providence, RI 02904 would be deeply appreciated.

Funeral arrangements were made with the assistance of Wood Family Funeral Service. For condolences, please visit

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