Remembering the Doc

November 16th, 2019 6:25 PM

By Southern Star Team

The late Dr Denis Cotter of Bantry, who died last week, aged 70.

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WE both grew up in Seskin where our two sets of parents, Jerome and Winnie Cotter, and Jerome and Kay Creedon, had the only two bungalows there at the time.

We celebrated Dee’s birthdays, as he was affectionately known then, with Winnie’s famous eclairs and played with Denis’s siblings Paule, Helen, Mary, Jeremy and Margie. Oh the halcyon days of youth! 

After boarding school, we were called to UCC, where Denis Cotter began his medical training and I chose arts, majoring in modern languages. Denis would give me lifts up and down at the weekends, being four years older.

Denis shone on the sporting field for UCC in the Sigerson Cup in Gaelic football and Munster rugby. From an early age, he showed talent and commitment.

Having graduated from UCC, Denis worked in Coventry before returning to his native Bantry 43 years ago and setting up the Newtown surgery.

His practice flourished together with Dr Joan Lynch and Dr Michael Kingston. Doc Cotter was available 24/7; he was there at 7am for early patients, 7pm in the evenings and on Sunday mornings. His work was his passion; he served diligently and faithfully the three peninsulas of Bantry and Sheeps Head as well as the Beara area, where he held a Sunday clinic.

Dr Denis Cotter’s untimely passing has been deeply mourned in the area. He loved his native Bantry, which he extolled in his multiple books on its past and another great passion of his Bantry Blues GAA.

The Doc was revered and respected by the huge crowds who turned out to pay a fond loving farewell to an icon, a legend, a brilliant medic, a true friend and neighbour. A loving husband to Lesley, adored father of Anne Marie, Marguerite, Elizabeth, Helena, Emma and Lucy. He was brother of Dr Jeremy Cotter and his sister Helen Matson, Mary Hyland and Dr Margie Cotter.

Dr Denis’s remains reposed at Coakley’s funeral home on Tuesday evening of last week, where at took five hours for mourners to file past the coffin. Denis’s requiem mass was held at St Finbarr’s parish church on Wednesday with a full attendance.

It was a concelebrated mass, the chief celebrant being Peruvian missionary and Bantry native, Fr Joe McCarthy, whose words on Dr Denis as a great medic, friend, family man and Bantry Blues mentor and coach of the teams that won the county senior football finals in 1995 and ’98 provoked a round of applause! 

As the cortege reached his final resting place at the Abbey Cemetery, we listened to the Tina Turner classic ‘Simply the Best’ poignant memories. You were simply the best ... my neighbour ... my confidant ... my doctor ... my friend ...

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