[caption id="attachment_29404" align="alignright" width="191"]<img class="wp-image-29404" src="https:\/\/mountainmedianews.com\/wp-content\/uploads\/sites\/13\/2017\/09\/David-Cottril.jpg" alt="" width="191" height="221" \/> David Cottrill[\/caption]\r\n<h1>David Cottrill wrote news stories and editorials with the <em>Mountain Messenger<\/em> for several years in the early 2000s.<\/h1>\r\nHe often characterized himself as \u201cthe oldest living newspaper reporter.\u201d His op-ed page column, titled \u201cThe April Fool,\u201d was named because he was born on April Fool\u2019s Day, a day when many jokes are told, various hoaxes are prepared, and the media sometimes contrives to make incredible \u201cinformation\u201d more credible. Cottrill\u2019s columns, written during the George W. Bush years in the White House, were anything but jokes and hoaxes, rather, they were more like highly animated opinions representing one side of the political spectrum.\r\n\r\nCottrill left the paper around 2008, and, with his wife, Linda, moved to retire in Charleston. He died on Aug. 23, 2017 at age 86. Those employees still at the <em>Messenger<\/em> who knew him remember him well with fondness.\r\n\r\nPublisher Michael Showell said, \u201cDavid always tried to see things as they really were. And he was always humble.\u201d\r\n\r\n\u201cHe never expressed his own opinion by saying \u2018I think this or I think that.\u2019 Instead, he quoted other sources - political news sources or, very often, the views of a philosopher of a bygone era, to highlight the point he was trying to make,\u201d said Showell.\r\n\r\n\u201cHe was a good, kind-hearted, compassionate man,\u201d recalls Kathy Hunter. \u201cHe always said the funniest things to make me smile.\u201d She and Jeanette Albaugh both remembered how much he enjoyed singing a capella with the local barbershop quartet. \u201cHe had a beautiful voice,\u201d said Hunter.\r\n\r\nSinging in a cappella harmony was a lifelong avocation for Cottrill. He was a 45-year member of the international Barbershop Harmony Society, and where ever he and Linda lived, whether in West Virginia, Florida or Maryland, they joined the local branch and sang a cappella in a quartet group.\r\n\r\nCottrill read extensively and his writings reflected his love of little-used words. When sprinkled throughout his columns, this reader had to reach for the dictionary in order to unravel his intent and apply it within the context of the subject matter at hand. \u201cI always thought his take on things were spot on,\u201d said Peggy Mackenzie. \u201cDavid was gracious and deferential when you met him, and never opinionated in person.\u201d\r\n\r\nIn the \u201cnews room\u201d at the <em>Mountain Messenger<\/em>, when the newspaper office was located in the basement of the Masonic Temple building, Cottrill\u2019s \u201coffice\u201d was in the back corner, behind a wall of books, from which he\u2019d emerge occasionally and head over to the New River Community and Technical College where he taught English classes.\r\n\r\n\u201cHe was always smiling,\u201d said Julie Sweet. \u201cI remember David coming in lots of mornings from the college and asking me to print homework from various students from either a disc or zip drive. Sometimes their \u2018story\u2019 was a sentence, sometimes a few sentences, always short,\u201d said Sweet. \u201cHe always gave his kids As. He said he if they could show up for class and turn in something, anything, it was OK. I remembering him saying you can still write a story with a sentence or two. It may be a very short story\u2026but still a story.\u201d\r\n\r\nRoger Griffith, dean of the Lewisburg New River campus, also remembers Cottrill\u2019s \u201cwonderful voice.\u201d But it was his considerable \u201ccritical thinking skills\u201d as a teacher that Cottrill was most remembered for. Cottrill used his knowledge of history and current events as subject matter, which prompted many student writing assignments. \u201cHe wanted students to know the classics and the current world we live in,\u201d Griffith said. Although the classroom was considered neutral ground on politics, Cottrill wanted the students\u2019 \u201ceyes open to the world.\u201d\r\n\r\nCottrill\u2019s obituary is in this week\u2019s <em>Mountain Messenger<\/em> where the reader may learn more of the life of David Cottrill. For those of us who knew him and miss him, that brief account doesn\u2019t begin to describe the breadth and reach of his life.