At some point, he got tired of the kitchen, she said, and he turned to law enforcement because "he wanted something that eventually would give him a good pension."
Mr. Cotton's 27-year career with the Sheriff's Department began at the county jail in Woodbury, she said.
But he spent much of his career with the Road Patrol Unit, delivering summonses and transporting prisoners. "After a while," she said, "he was in charge of the Road Patrol Unit."
Mr. Cotton played Santa Claus at Stecher's Tree Farm in Swedesboro for years, until ill health sidelined him about four years ago, his wife said.
"That was his passion," she said. "He loved that."
Mr. Cotton was a member of the Fraternal Order of Police.
In addition to his wife of 36 years, Mr. Cotton is survived by their daughter Mary Rogers; stepsons Robert and Ronald Andersen; three grandsons; and a former wife.
Visitation will be from 7 to 9 p.m. Tuesday, Jan. 21, and from 10 a.m. Wednesday, Jan. 22, at the Budd Funeral Home, 522 Salem Ave., Woodbury, before a funeral there at 11 a.m. Wednesday, with interment in Eglington Cemetery, Clarksboro.
Donations may be sent to the Penn Transplant Institute, Perelman Center for Advanced Medicine, 3400 Civic Center Blvd., Philadelphia 19104.
Condolences may be offered to the family at www.buddfuneralhome.com.