William Rodney (Rod) Cotton          11 June 2004

It is with great sadness and a heavy heart that I have to let you know 
Rod died Friday June 11 at 6:00 am after a short battle with cancer.

Many of you were able to offer Rod your support and love in the last 
weeks of his life and he was overwhelmed by your visits, phone calls 
and prayers.

He obviously meant a great deal to many people during his 65 years and 
he was truly touched by the kindness of so many of his family and 
friends, the scale of which he had not expected.

Rod had always asked that people celebrate his life rather than mourn 
his death. The funeral and celebration of his life will be held on 
Thursday June 17th at 11:00 am at the Episcopal Church of
the Epiphany, 9600 S Gessner, Houston, Texas and afterwards in the 
Parish Hall.  For those of you in England there will also be a memorial 
service later in the year.

Up to the end, Rod was positive about his cancer. He believed that 
rather than be sorry about the disease, it gave him an opportunity to 
say goodbye to his family and friends.  In particular, Mark, Claire 
and Emma were able to spend some precious moments with both of us in 
his final few weeks.

Rod was honored twice by Houston Baptist University, where he worked 
as an assistant professor at the College of Business and Economics, in 
the final weeks of his life. Like his mother, he always believed that 
people should pay their respects to the living, not the dead; but he 
was overwhelmed and very touched with the generosity and kindness of 
his colleagues who presented him with an engraved granite plaque which 
will be laid in a walk of honor on the University campus in his memory. 
He was able to attend the Universitys annual awards dinner, where he 
was presented with the Robert Griswold Outstanding Teaching Award for 
2003-2004, which he also had received in 2001-2002.

Rod was also able to enjoy his newest grandson Alex. Emma and her 
husband Guy drove from Alabama after the birth following a complicated 
pregnancy and Rod was able to meet his healthy new grandson and give 
him a cuddle.

Rod was particularly close to Father Jim Tucker, our vicar, in the last 
few years and Father Jim has been a rock and pillar to our family in 
recent weeks. Rod loved participating in the vestry at Church and in 
Sunday School and was due to lead a conference on leadership at the 
Church of the Epiphany when he became ill. The Church will honor him by 
naming the Conference after Rod.

Rod was well known through his involvement in the Society of 
Exploration Geophysicists, Dallas and Houston Geophysical Societies, 
the European Association of Geoscientist and Engineers, the Association 
for Psychological Type and Oyster Creek Rotary Club; but he will be 
remembered for his wisdom, compassion and inspiration.

And also for his passion for good food and wine, dancing, cycling, motor 
racing and fun holidays with his family. 

Over the past few months, the outpouring of love and support has truly 
been amazing from all the people that Rod has touched through the 
years. We can't thank all of you enough for the love and support that 
you have provided to us as a family.  It has truly helped make this 
difficult time a little easier.

Please do not send flowers to the church. In lieu of flowers, donations 
can be made to The Church of the Epiphany or the Lance Armstrong 

With love, 



Nobody ever had a bad word about Rod Cotton. What stood out about  him 
were  his  communication and problem solving skills.  He was genuinely 
interested in people, how best to communicate with them, and thus  how 
to influence them, point them in the right direction, and inspire them.

Rod was born in  1938  and  was  a  graduate  of  Glasgow 
University  in Scotland (with a Bachelors and then a PhD,
the latter in Potential Fields in geophysics).  He joined 
GSI in London in 1965 in the marine data processing group, 
just when the first  digital  processing  capability  had 
been  installed,  and  rapidly  progressed  through group
leader and party chief to  Area  Geophysicist  (AGs  were 
GSI's  technical  Úlite)  and  thus  a  key member of the 
technical staff. After a posting as A.G. in Singapore, he 
returned to the U.K. and by the early 70's was already running classes
in geophysics and especially in 3D seismic methods, which  were  brand
new at the time. He was just as much at home doing this in a classroom
as he was taking it out to the jungle or onto a  seismic  boat,  where 
some  of  the  real  action was to be found. His great skill was to be 
able to explain what was needed in terms his audience could understand 
and relate to, whether his audience was the  ship's  engine  mechanic, 
the  mess  cleaner,  the party chief, or a new physics graduate (these 
employment demarcation distinctions were often blurred anyway on  most 
of the older  GSI  boats!).  He  would  do  this  without  a  hint  of 
condescension and with such consummate skill that many of those  still
remember  the  magic  of  the  occasion  to this day.  He did not just 
inherit these skills; he worked  hard  to  acquire  them, a  fact  not 
widely known even to his closest associates.  Underneath his quiet but 
receptive exterior, he was passionate about leadership, team building, 
personality type, team growth, presentation skills, motivation,  dele-
gation, negotiation, conflict resolution, problem solving,  diversity, 
project management, and  strategic  management.  Rod (who had moved to 
Texas in the 80's) had been  a  member  of  the  American  Society  of 
Trainers  and  Developers, the  Project  Management Institute, and the 
Houston branch of the Association for Psychological Type for which  he 
served  as  treasurer.  He  was always at the forefront of technology, 
both in operations and in data processing, and  is  especially  remem-
bered  by  GSI'ers for his work on airgun systems, which he progressed 
through his ongoing contacts both with practising experts and academia 
such as Ben Giles and Anton Ziolkowski. With Dave Monk he wrote airgun 
array simulation software and became GSI's main airgun array designer, 
authoring several papers on the  subject  (amongst  almost  two  dozen 
overall  during  his  career).  GSI  was,  of  course,  taken  over by 
Halliburton and subsequently became part of WesternGeco, and  Rod  who 
had  been elected a senior member of the technical staff at TI (1980), 
was likewise elected to the same status by HGS in 1990. Rod claimed to 
have changed careers in mid-stream when he took  over  the  management 
and  development  of  training  programs  within  Halliburton and then 
Western Geophysical, but since he had been a gifted teacher  for  most 
of  his  career up to that time, the change was possibly less apparent 
to the community than he thought. Equally, after the career change  he 
continued to keep up with the technology so to the outside observer he 
just seemed to add more teaching and influencing skills to his already 
wide-ranging workload. 

To give you a flavour of his writings let me quote  from  one  of  his 
papers  in  The  Leading Edge: Remember, there is one thing worse than 
training employees and then seeing them leave, and that is not  train-
ing  them and having them stay!.  One of his very recent papers was on 
Distance Learning itself a new and leading edge  technology.  In  this 
new  career he spearheaded an executive management program for Western 
Atlas through Houston Baptist University.  He subsequently joined  the 
Faculty of HBU in November 2000 and used his extensive contacts around 
the world  to  provide  an  international  flavour  to  the  students' 
programs.  He was awarded the  Robert  Griswold  Outstanding  Teaching 
Award  for HBU's College of Business and Economics for both the 2001/2 
and the 2003/4 academic years.  He was Vice President  of  the  Dallas 
Geophysical  Society  in 1986/87, President in 1988/89 and was elected 
an honorary life member in 1992.  He had been an active member of  the 
SEG  since  1966  and served on its Continuing Education committee for 
many years. In addition to  the  various  society  memberships  listed 
above, he was also a member of the Geophysical Society of Houston, and 
the  European Association of Geoscientists and Engineers.  He was also 
active in the local community.  He was treasurer of the  Oyster  Creek 
Rotary  Club,  and  received  the  Rotarian  of  the  Year  award  for 
2002/2003 for 'Service above Self'. He was a member of the  Vestry  at 
the Church of the Epithany and thoroughly enjoyed participating in its 
Sunday  School.   Characteristically,  he  was  scheduled  to  lead  a 
conference on Leadership itself when he became ill. 

That's an impressive CV, but maybe most important  of  all, he  was  a 
devoted  family  man.  Judy  and  he were teenage sweethearts and they 
married in 1965. They have three children on three continents and four 
grandchildren. Rod was an active cyclist, a keen follower of Formula-1 
racing, an accomplished dancer, and very good company.

Rod, thank you. We will all miss you.

Ian Jack


From: RodCotton@aol.com [mailto:RodCotton@aol.com]
Sent: Thursday, February 19, 2004 10:44 AM
To: Bill Boettcher
Subject: Re: Pizza Thursday

Hey all, I'm at last out of hospital after 6 weeks, two major and one 
minor abdominal operations.  We still can't restart my stomach so I am 
on a 24 hour drip feed and a stomach fluid drain. Still it is nice to 
be home, but I am not up to pizza yet.
Thanks for all the good wishes,


From: RodCotton@aol.com [mailto:RodCotton@aol.com]
Sent: Saturday, February 28, 2004 5:45 PM
To: Bill Boettcher
Subject: Re: Friday Beer?

Bill: Just to let you know that I am back home again now and surviving 
on a life support system. I am negotiating with M D Anderson to take 
over my case. I should hear by the middle of next week.


From: RodCotton@aol.com [mailto:RodCotton@aol.com]
Sent: Sunday, March 21, 2004 3:50 PM
To: Bill Boettcher
Subject: Re: News...

Bill: I do not have good news. I spent 3 days at MD Anderson last week. 
There is a procedure to restart my stomach but it is very major and I 
am not a candidate for it. Without that, I cannot build strength for 
an aggressive radiation and chemo therapy. They have given me a mild 
chemo drug to see if it will slow the cancer down, but that's all it 
can do for a few months at most. The cancer I have is very aggressive 
and has moved into the fat cells in my abdominal cavity which is about 
the worst thing it could have done.

Thanks for all the good wishes and prayers from everyone,



From: Ian Jack
Sent: Sunday, May 2, 2004 8:01 AM
To: Bill Boettcher
Subject: Re: GSINET Update - Mon Mar 22 18:44:23 CST 2004

Dear Friends,

I visited Rod and Judy Cotton yesterday, and passed on all the messages 
from the many people I spoke to in the U.K. last week.

As was clear from his message of 22 March, Rod is bravely resigned
to his fate and has spent much of his time organising his affairs.

They would love to see old friends. He is weakening, however, so I 
would urge any of you who wish to call or pay a visit to do so very 
soon, before the effects of a gradually increasing dose of painkillers 
make him too drousy to communicate with the alertness that he would 
obviously have liked to maintain.

Ian Jack
2nd May.


Date: Tue, 04 May 2004 13:54:18 +0100
To: RodCotton@aol.com
From: Mike Golding 
Subject: Re: (no subject)

Hi Rod,
          I was not able to get to Houston this month, but all of our 
best wishes and thoughts are with you and Judy at this time.

I remember with great warmth the good times in Dallas where we spent 
many hours discussing the "pulling apart" and rebuilding of General 
Motors and Jaguar engines and, of course, the significant encouragement 
that you always gave me with the bike riding. You always seem to cover 
much greater distances that I could ever achieve, but  I have managed 
four London to Brighton runs in recent years here in the UK for the 
British Heart foundation charity events.  I always think of you after 
about 50 miles when we reach Ditchling Beacon; needless to say the 
South Downs need a few more "cogs" than I used back in the Texas days.

Your example has stayed with us all throughout our careers both on and 
off the geophysical circuit.

Our sincere thanks.



Date: Tue, 04 May 2004 10:20:18 +0100
To: Bill Boettcher
From: Rod Cotton
Subject: Re: FW: From Mike Golding

Thanks for all your kind words - I am printing off all emails and 
reading them to Dad.
Claire Johnston
Daughter of Dr. Rod Cotton

Date: Tue, 18 May 2004 2:53:18 PM
To: Bill Boettcher
From: Rod Cotton
Subject: Rod Cotton

Dear all

I am writing to let you know that if any of you are emailing Dad at
rodcotton@aol.com, he is hearing all of your emails.  He is too weak
to get on his computer and spends most of the days sleeping now but
when he is awake, I do read him all of the wonderful and supportive
emails.  It is so great to hear how many lives that Dad has touched.

I apologize if I have not responded to all the emails but please know
that dad is hearing all your kind words and it does bring a smile to  
his face.
If any of you can forward this on to anyone else, please do.
Thank you for keeping us in your thoughts and prayers.
Claire Johnston
Daughter of Dr. Rod Cotton
207 Cedar Elm Lane
Sugar Land TX 77479-5029
Home: 281-565-0160


Dear Friends 

It is with great sadness that I am writing this email.  Rod Cotton 
died about 6:00 am today.  Rod was diagnosed with cancer of the 
duodenum.  He had been getting gradually weaker day by day and died 
peacefully at home today.

Rod managed to keep his spirits up over the last few months, even 
though he was considerably weaker.  He did greatly appreciate all of 
your kind thoughts and prayers.

No information at this time about any funeral arrangements.  I'll 
send additional information when available. Please forward on to 
anyone else that may not be on the list and I apologize if anyone 
receives this twice. 

Claire Johnston
Daughter of Rod Cotton
Dr. Rod Cotton
207 Cedar Elm Lane
Sugar Land TX 77479-5029
Home: 281-565-0160
Fax: 281-565-2896


Hello Ian ( and Bill),

Many thanks for the Obituary of a good man - Rod Cotton.

I only met him in the '80s in E.A.M.E whilst under the 'thumb' of JKL 
but he showed an  interest in my work of Logistics support which 
encouraged me enormously in my desire to supply 'anything, anywhere 
and at anytime'.

A great loss to the Seismic fraternity and especially to ex-GSI'ers.


David C Evans


"I was sad to hear of Rods passing.  I had the pleasure of working with 
him when we were with G.S.I. in the 1970's.  I was always bumping into 
him in some country or other, whether in Africa, America or the U.K.  
He was a genuinely pleasant man, I enjoyed his company.

Bob Geddes,
ex G.S.I. Party Manager,
(M/V "Patrick E. Haggarty)"