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Mike Edwards

I was blessed to have had the opportunity to know John and work with him on so many construction projects. John was great to work with and will be truly be missed by so many. He truly loved life! Condolences to all of his family! Praying for all of you!

Michel and Lyn Deroy

We met John when we moved permanently to our home on Amelia and decided to renovate. We immediately recognized what a fine person he was and thoroughly enjoyed our meetings with him. We are saddened to learn of his passing and extend our deepest sympathy to his family.

Stephanie Lunt - Holt

I first knew of Mr Cotner as Kristen’s dad, once we had mutual clients he corrected me and said “you can call me John”, trying to call him “John” was like caulk my mouth and he seemed to be ticked by my attempt at the awkward transition from parent of a friend to business acquaintance. He was a true servant to this community, his family and the lord. He will be greatly missed. My deepest sympathy to family, friends and anyone who had the pleasure to know him.

Kenneth Graham

What a special and great man. Introduced me to the greatest family I’ve ever known, his own. So many will miss you John but me especially. Will you and grandaddy save me a spot in a tree stand. My deepest sympathy and thoughts go out to Grant,Ian,Kristen, and Debbie.

Dr. Arnold Tanis

John was a fine man. Of whom the community is justifiably proud. He will be remembered nobly. Dr. Arnold Tanis and Elizabth M Tanis.

Amelia Island Museum of History

John was a true asset to our community. His contribution to the preservation of our historical resources deserves the gratitude of all who call this island home. He was a friend of the Museum and will be missed. Phyllis Davis, Executive Director

Beth Hughes

On behalf of the Nassau Humane Society family, I extend our deep condolences to John’s family. Many of got to know John when he worked with us to design our animal rescue shelter. He was a thoughtful, generous and kind man, always ready to help when needed. We will miss him.

Changes Salon

As many of the Cotner's have been our clients through the years we have seen the impact that John has had on them and on this entire community. We will miss not only the beauty of his professional work but that of his heart. To Debbie and all his family we extend our deepest sympathy.

Patsy Llarena

John was truly a great man. He lived life to the fullest and was a true family man and friend to many. His legacy of contributions will leave all that knew him great memories. May the Great Lord comfort his loved ones with peace, strength, and love through the days ahead. John will be greatly missed, but all who believe in Jesus and trust in Jesus will join him in victory over death one day. God Bless!

Dickie and Shelly Anderson

A community treasure has been lost. His contributions to the community he loved will live on.

Dave & Debbie Lott

The Fernandina Beach community lost one of its pillars of generosity, dedication and faith in John's passing. His gifts through pro bono work to non-profits and to the various city committees he served on are too numerous to list. John was the co-leader of the St. Peter's Episcopal Church's Caribbean Mission team using his extensive architectural skills to help plan and coordinate the various building projects at Episcopal churches throughout the Caribbean. Prayers for Debby and all the family.

Chris Bryan

John was an amazing man. His devotion and love of our community will be missed. We worked on many projects for our YMCA. John, you will be missed by so many.

Jeri Kolke

John was the Ultimate Husband, Father, Grandfather and friend. His loving contributions to his church community as well as to his Fernandina Beach community is beyond amazing. He will be missed in his family, his church family, his Mission Team, his work family.

John Mark Cotner


John Mark Cotner, 68 years old, of Fernandina Beach, Florida, passed away peacefully on Friday, March 4, 2022, at his home on Amelia Island.

Born on March 11, 1953, in Williamsport, Pennsylvania, to Lloyd Charles and Jane Yoder Cotner. He grew up on a farm near Danville, Pennsylvania, before moving to Williamsport, then graduating from Loyalsock High School in 1971. After graduation, he married Debra Marie Westervelt, and the couple moved to Atlanta, Georgia, where John attended Georgia Tech and graduated with a degree in Architecture.

Both of their sons, Ian and Grant, were born during their time in Atlanta before John accepted an offer from the architectural firm Nichols, Carter, Grant, Inc. on Amelia Island Plantation in 1980.

In 1985, their daughter Kristen was born in Fernandina Beach. Shortly thereafter, in 1987, John opened Cotner Associates, Inc. in downtown Fernandina Beach, combining forces with his father’s firm in Williamsport, Pennsylvania. Eventually, the firms consolidated the two branches, maintaining the flagship office in Fernandina. A significant portion of their work included designing dream homes, businesses, schools, churches, parks, and playgrounds throughout Florida, Georgia, the Carolinas, and Pennsylvania.

John dedicated his life’s work to bettering the community and would often remind those closest to him, “don’t just take up space,” but work to make the world and your community a better place. John practiced what he preached, spearheading countless community projects in Fernandina Beach, including: Centre Street Comfort Station; City Public Works administration facility; Peck Center landscaping and renovations; historic Railroad Depot; North Beach Park; Seaside Park; Waterfront Park; and Central Park Little League and Pop Warner facilities. John also served on numerous architectural review boards and committees in Northeast Florida and Southeast Georgia.

In addition, John generously donated his time, talent and treasure as a Little League baseball umpire, Indian Princesses Chief, Ducks Unlimited executive board member, St. Peter’s Episcopal Church breakfast crew team leader, and he spent nearly 30 years leading the St. Peter’s Mission Crew on trips to the Caribbean to repair and replace hurricane-tattered churches, schools and other places of worship. He also volunteered to design, build and renovate various structures at Camp Weed, a ministry of the Episcopal Diocese of Florida.

In his free time, John kept busy with projects around the family’s home, as well as the homes of his friends and family members. He was never one to let the grass grow under his feet. An avid outdoorsman, he welcomed any opportunity to travel, get out on the water and wet a line, camp with his kids, or sit in a tree stand.

John was a loving husband, father, grandfather, brother, son, friend and role model to many. He was a true pillar of the community. John’s life on this Earth has inspired many individuals to become better people. His outlook on life may be best embodied in a quote from the late Irish playwright, George Bernard Shaw, when he said, “I want to be thoroughly used up when I die. For the harder I work, the more I live. I rejoice in life for its own sake. Life is no brief candle to me. It is a splendid torch, which I have ahold of for the moment, and I want to make it burn as brightly as possible before handing it off to future generations.”

John’s memory will live on, not only in his work, but in his spouse of nearly 50 years, Debby; his children Ian (Kate) Cotner, Grant (Miki) Cotner, and Kristen (Michael) Schebell; his grandchildren Liam, Michael, Ansley, Bryson and Lennon. He is also survived by his siblings Jeanette Chaffee, Charles Cotner and Ann Pittman, as well as his mother, Jane Cotner, nieces, nephews, in-laws and other loving family members.

John’s life will be celebrated at St. Peter's Episcopal Church in Fernandina Beach on Monday, March 21, 2022, at 11:00 a.m. with interment in St. Peter's Cemetery immediately following the service.

In lieu of flowers, donations may be made in his memory to Nassau Habitat for Humanity, Nassau Humane Society, or St. Peter’s Episcopal Outreach.


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