Bert Lloyd Cottle was born Oct. 8, 1953 to Benny and Marlene (Jensen) Cottle in Palmer, Alaska when Alaska was still a territory. Bert grew up in Wasilla, attending Wasilla Elementary and graduating from Wasilla High School in 1972 – just one month after his mother earned her High School GED. Before attending college he worked for his dad at Cottle’s Corner Texaco.
Bert attended Trinidad State College in Trinidad, CO – earning his degree in Law Enforcement and Political Science. He was a graduate of the Northwestern University Traffic Institute, Chicago, IL – Drug Enforcement Academy, Glenco, GA – State of Alaska Corrections Academy and the FBI Academy, Quantico, VA.
After college Bert began his career in Law Enforcement in Valdez serving 23 years – eight years as Chief of Police. He was the first Police Officer in the State of Alaska to be appointed by the Governor to serve on the Alaska Alcohol and Beverage Control Board. Bert remained in Valdez to serve the community for a year on the City Council and then 10 years as Mayor. He was appointed by the Governor and served 2 years on Alaska Homeland Security Task Force.
Bert was always busy. Along with his Law Enforcement and Public Service careers in Valdez, through the years he also enjoyed his endeavors of owning a book store, bubble gum machines, driving tour bus, renting skiffs, designing and selling his own silver coins, managing an RV Park and working as office manager at North Pacific Fuel. He loved Valdez and the people who made it home for him for many years. He was a huge part of the community.
He served on the Alaska Gasline Port Authority, Alaska Municipal League, BPO Elks, Eagles (where he was the Easter Bunny for 25 years), Advocates for Victims of Violence, Pioneers of Alaska, and many more.
38 years later Bert returned home to his roots in Wasilla. He served the City of Wasilla as Deputy Administrator for 3 years before becoming Mayor for 6 years in the same building where he attended elementary school. Bert was appointed to serve as a member of the Alaska Workforce Investment Board and served again on the Alaska Municipal League Board. Bert was a person who got things done. During his time with the City of Wasilla he was instrumental in acquiring grants, land for parks, getting public support to build a new public library, a new Police Department building, securing land for and moving the Honor Wall.
After concluding his terms as Wasilla Mayor, earlier this year he was appointed by Gov. Mike Dunleavy to serve as community outreach manager. He enjoyed his time in this position interacting with many of the communities and villages in Alaska and serving his State.
Bert lived the motto “Protect and Serve”. His entire life was spent in public service – protecting others and his community as a Police Officer, and then serving his communities and his State through public office. He was passionate about taking care of and protecting children, women and our seniors. He worked hard to start a breakfast program at the elementary school and secure long term senior care in Valdez and served to support My House Mat-Su Homeless Youth Center in Wasilla, an organization that helps homeless teens. Bert never cared about recognition or having his name on a building or plaque – he just wanted to help others.
He could organize people to accomplish things and then lift them up with encouragement and praise. He believed with all his heart that one person can still make a difference.
Bert loved and collected lighthouses. It was said that this was so fitting as Bert was the rock to stand on and the light in the storm for so many throughout his life. The legacy of service he leaves behind will impact all of us for many years to come.
Bert leaves behind his soulmate, best friend and wife, Cathy. Children Benjaman Cottle, Patrick Olson (Chey), Terrijean Lundfelt (Christian), Bob Olson (Kimberly), Wendilynn Muto (Akira), Stephanie Morgan (Ryan). He is also survived by his parents Benny and Marlene Cottle, Sister Janet Stannard (Bill), Brother Henry Cottle (Claudia), His Grandchildren who were his joy and his world – JeannaTe’ and Jason Jenn-Lundfelt, Draven, Elora, Lucas, Odin and Rowan Olson, Reyana and Kai Muto, and Austin Morgan. Bert also leaves behind so many loved Cousins, Nieces, Nephews, close friends Craig and Rose Teich, and countless others that he considered family.
A Celebration of Life for Bert will be held 4 pm, Dec. 3, 2022 at the Curtis Menard Memorial Sports Center, 1001 S. Clap Street, Wasilla. All are invited to attend and celebrate an amazing man taken too soon. Flowers may be sent to the Menard Center for the celebration. Those wishing to make donations in Bert’s name can send them to My House Mat-Su Homeless Youth Center, 300 North Willow, Wasilla, AK 99654.
Bert will be laid to rest in the Aurora Cemetery in Wasilla, along with his beloved dog Barkley, who died of a broken heart the same day.