Cover photo for Harry Armour Cotesworth's Obituary

Harry Armour Cotesworth

November 28, 1928 — December 10, 2023

Bluffton, SC

Harry Armour Cotesworth

Harry Armour Cotesworth, Jr. passed away on December 10, 2023.  He was born in Cleveland, Ohio November 26, 1928.

He was pre-deceased by his first wife, Martha Hellon Elmore Cotesworth, in 1970; his mother, Effie Sarah Day Cotesworth, in 1980; and his father, Harry Armour Cotesworth, Sr., in 1981.

He is survived by his loving wife of 46 years, Yolanta (Nola) Perrine Latkowski Cotesworth; daughter, Elizabeth Helen Cotesworth Anderson; son-in-law, Peter Michael Anderson; grandchildren, Patrick Cotesworth Anderson and Ava Helena Anderson; sister-in-law, Alicia Latowski Dutka; brother-in-law, Dr. Robert Dutka; and nephews, Rob Dutka (Iffat and son Osman), Aaron (Teri and daughter Aliciamarie), Jason Dutka and Levi Kreis.

Harry graduated from Collinwood High School in January 1947; while in school he was active in extracurricular activities, the stage crew, school bank and tennis team.  During this time he had various part time jobs including a Look magazine route for two years beginning when he was eight years old and a paper route when he was twelve until high school graduation.  When he was fourteen, he worked in a Western Union Message Center during summer vacation, where he spent the day on roller skates taking messages from receiving operators to sending operators, six days a week. He never roller skated again.  The summer he was sixteen (1944) he worked for The Cleveland Tractor Company, helping to build tractors for the military, and he worked for them again in the Experimental Dept. from January 1947 until August after graduation from High School.  He also worked in a drugstore, part time, three days a week, for three years prior to graduation.

Harry entered Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute (RPI) in Troy, NY September 1947, became a very active member of Chi Phi fraternity, and lived in the house his last two years at RPI.  He graduated in June 1951 with a Bachelor of Mechanical Engineering degree.  He entered the Platoon Leaders Class (PLC) of the United States Marine Corps in 1948 and spent six weeks during the next two summer vacations in Quantico, VA for training.  The day after graduation he was commissioned a Second Lieutenant in the Marine Reserves.  Five days later, after being called to active duty, he was back in Quantico for five months of training, then to Fort Belvoir, VA for three months combat engineer training, and on to Camp Pendleton, CA for one month additional training. He then sailed to Inchon, Korea from San Diego, arriving May 2, 1952, and proceeded to the First Engineer Battalion Headquarters, First Marine Division, where he was assigned as a platoon leader.  He returned to the US to San Francisco in February, 1953, and resumed civilian life.  Harry stayed in the reserves for a total of 29 years and retired as a Lt. Colonel.

His first job was with Malleable Iron and Steel Casting Co., Cleveland, Ohio as Foundry Engineer.  It was a dirty job, which left in two years after a young Marine, with an older man (both manufacturer representatives), recognized Harry from his Marine time and asked “Lt. can’t you get a better job than this?”  A month later Harry was gone to Republic Steel Corp., where he stayed for four years. A psychological testing program at Case Western Reserve University showed Harry was the best suited for sales where he might use his technical knowledge, and suggested IBM as an example of a company where he might work.  A month later, after seeing an advertisement for college graduates to apply for sales, he was interviewed for a sales position, hired and began work January 13, 1959, the oldest trainee, 30, in his class of twelve.  The 28 years began in Canton, Ohio; to Cleveland; Washington, DC; Saigon, Vietnam; and lastly Chicago.  He started as a sales trainee in the Data Processing Division.  Six years were spent as a marketing representative in Cleveland, followed by two years as a national sales industry marketing representative (local government) in Washington, DC.  In 1969 Harry was promoted to the manager of IBM’s World Trade Corporation business in the Republic of South Vietnam.  He was headquartered and lived in Saigon for two and one-half years.  IBM Vietnam was a profit center with the manager responsible for all IBM operations, including attainment of revenue and profit objectives, typewriter sales and repair, Data Center (service Bureau) operations, data processing sales and service, and customer education.  There were 99 employees at the time, 97 of whom were Vietnamese and two of whom were American, including the manager.  In 1972 Harry was transferred to Chicago where he held staff positions in personnel, data processing sales and corporate litigation.  He spent seven years assisting in the defense of IBM in the federal and several civil antitrust suits.  He retired in 1984, at 55, after twenty-five years of service.

Harry was an active member most of his life in the Episcopal Church.  He began Sunday School at five years old, Choir Boy from eight to twelve, Acolyte from 13 to 18 years old, and Vestry member and Acolyte trainer from 24 to 39 years old.

In 1986, after retiring, he moved with his wife and six year old daughter, Elizabeth, to Hilton Head Island, SC.  In 1989, he built a home in, and moved to, Spanish Wells Plantation.  He was busy helping to rear Elizabeth, school, many activities for her, and President of the POA for several years, resurfacing and widening the roads and major improvements in drainage.

He resumed being very active in the Episcopal Church of the Cross in Bluffton, SC, where he was a member of the Vestry for nine years, Junior Warden for two, and Senior Warden for four years.  During this time church windows were restored, roof replaced and some siding removed in order to get rid of bees.  Honey recovered became known as Holy Honey and was sold for several years.  The interior was renovated and painted, Parrish Hall moved and restored, and a new Pipe Organ installed.  As membership increased he began the ushering program.  After being diagnosed with non-Hodgkins Lymphoma in 1995, followed by a relapse in 2004, and bladder cancer several years later, his involvement declined, until he attended only.

In 2002 Harry and Nola moved into the house they built on Myrtle Island, Bluffton, SC, where Harry enjoyed walking out on the dock to enjoy the cool breeze and watch the dolphins occasionally swim past the dock.  His last years were spent doing the things he most enjoyed, seeing his daughter, Elizabeth, her husband Peter, and grandchildren Patrick and Ava, driving around much of the USA, attending reunion weekends at his college, RPI, then driving to Cleveland to see cousin Barbara Andrews; Port Clinton, Ohio; Inverness (a suburb of Chicago) to visit his wife’s sister Alicia, brother-in-law Robert, and family, and others of Nola’s family.  He enjoyed what became routine during the week, going to McDonalds at the south end of Hilton Head Island to read the paper, Wall Street Journal, see his cousin, Jim Cotesworth and wife Marilyn, for breakfast (February and March), and other friends, followed by a walk on the beach, grocery shopping on the way home, and especially breakfast on Saturday, at home, with his wife Nola.  July 2021 Harry and Nola moved to the Cypress of Raleigh to be closer to Elizabeth and her family.

In lieu of flowers donations may be made in Harry’s memory to Tunnel to Towers Foundation (

A private graveside service will take place on December 29th at 1:00 pm in The Gates Mills South Cemetery, Gates Mills, OH. Brown-Forward Funeral Home will livestream the service on this page below, beginning at 12:45pm.

Past Services

Graveside Service

Friday, December 29, 2023

1:00pm - 11:00 am (Eastern time)

Gates Mills South Cemetery

River Road, Gates Mills, OH


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