Bob Kotter, Who Loved Gloucester City, Succumbs to Prostate Cancer; Vietnam War Marine Veteran, GHS Alum
GLOUCESTER CITY, NJ (November 18, 2022)(CNBNews)--Robert “Bob” Kotter, who was born and raised in Gloucester City, succumbed to his battle with stage 4 prostate cancer on Sunday, November 13. He was 74 years old.
A U.S. Marine, Bob fought in the Vietnam War. CNBNews interviewed Kotter in February 2020, when he told us that Agent Orange caused his cancer. U.S. planes and helicopters dropped that poisonous chemical on the jungles of Vietnam to kill the heavy vegetation during the war.
At the time of the 2020 interview, he was living in his truck and was in the later stage of his cancer. The doctors increased Kotter’s chemotherapy four times weekly as cancer had spread to his bones.
For a decade or more, Bob lived in the family home in the 400 block of Market Street, taking care of his elderly parents. He cooked their meals, kept them and the house cleaned, and ensured they got to the doctors and received their medications. After his mother died, the house was sold, and he was left without a roof over his head. Fortunately, he didn't have to live on the street for too long; with the help of his friends and fellow veterans, he found an apartment at Carpenter's Square, Gloucester City.
LINDENWOLD, NJ (December 30, 2020)- Bob volunteered to help establish a Veterans Center in Lindenwold. Even though he was sick most days because of his cancer treatment, he still found time to help establish a Veteran's Center in Lindenwold. Bob is pictured with Kathleen Van Stine. She and her husband, John founded the center.
"A community activist, I first met Bob in 2006-07 when he was trying to get the City of Gloucester City to clean up their parking lot at Fifth and Powell Street," said Bill Cleary Sr., editor of CNBNews. "Junkies were using the lot to shoot up. Empty needles and glassine bags were thrown around the lot in plain view. It was also an eyesore due to the trash and broken down cars on the lot."
From the 2007 article:
The city property was once the site of the Quaker Food store and the former Sand Bar. The City tore down the properties in the 1980s, paved it with asphalt, and put up an 8-foot high cyclone fence.
Kotter said during the interview, “that was the last time we saw the City. The fence has been decaying for the past several years. People used the vacant property to store their unlicensed vehicles and for changing the oil in their cars.”
In 2016 Bob fought against the terrible odor from the Blueknight Energy Partners asphalt plant on Water Street, home to eight million barrels of asphalt. Kotter told the Philadelphia Inquirer, "Sometimes the fumes burn your eyes," he said. "My elderly parents, who lived four blocks from the plant, have been putting up with it for years. But nobody does anything about it even though I have complained to numerous environmental agencies."
Bob loved to walk through the city. He wore a wide-brim light green hat with a US Marine emblem. You could tell by his walk he was military. He would start from his parent's home on Market Street, head west to the riverfront, and cover the entire city, ending at Market and Powell Streets. When he saw that the old GAF power plant was being demolished, he was concerned that the property wasn't properly sealed and was worried the asbestos inside would spread to the nearby residential neighborhood.
(CNBNews photo of Kotter)
"As a result of his tip, we discovered some interesting history about the GAF power plant that we and the public would never have known if it wasn't for him," said Cleary.
He loved Gloucester City, and it upset him to see what was happening to specific neighborhoods in the community. He quickly pointed out faults in the hopes that improvements would be made. Take, for example, in 2018, when he wrote a letter to CNBNews about the condition of the entrance to the city on South Broadway, along with the potholes on Jersey Avenue, two main highways coming in and out of the town.
"I have attached some photos showing the deplorable road conditions on South Broadway when you enter Gloucester City from Brooklawn and the potholes on Jersey Avenue from South Broadway to King Street," said Kotter.
"These streets are so bad that if you hit some bumps doing the speed limit, it will throw you right out of your vehicle's seat. I can't imagine what it does to the front end of your car/truck. Year in and year out, these conditions have been allowed to exist. It is a disgrace. I give the person a thumbs up for the excellent job he/she did in painting the new yellow lines on the street. However, painting dividing lines in the street before you repair the potholes is just plain stupid."
"Bob's heart was always in the right place," said Cleary. "He had no ulterior motive. He wasn't running for any political office. Nor did he have an ax to grind. If he saw something wrong, he tried his best to fix it because of his love for Gloucester City.
Sunday, November 13, 2022, Mr. Kotter passed peacefully in the loving care of his nephew, Allan, and his niece, Renee.
He is predeceased by his daughter, Jennifer "Baby Girl" Kotter, and his mother, Doris Ramona Kotter (nee Tipton). He is survived by his children, Robert S. Kotter, III; Ross S. Kotter and Ashley R. Kotter; his brothers, Richard Kotter and Adrian Kotter; his nephew, Allan J. Kotter and his wife, Renee Kotter and their son, Alexander “Ichiban” Kotter.
Bob graduated from Gloucester City High School. He was a skilled carpenter and longtime member of Carpenter’s Local Union 1489 in Burlington, NJ. Bob was a proud member of the Runnemede VFW Post 3324 and an avid volunteer with the Disabled American Veterans and the Carlton R. Rouh Veteran’s Center in Lindenwold. He enjoyed fishing and working on model airplanes.
Relatives and friends are invited to his visitation on Tuesday, November 22, 2022, from 9 to 11 AM at the McCANN-HEALEY FUNERAL HOME, 851 Monmouth St., Gloucester City. Family and friends will share their stories of Bob at 11 AM in the funeral home. Interment with USMC honors will follow in Brig. Gen. William C. Doyle Veterans Memorial Cemetery, 350 Province Line Road, Wrightstown, NJ.
Instead of flowers, donations are requested to Spectra Care Foundation, 777 Blackwood Clementon Rd., Suite D, Lindenwold, NJ 08021 or online at spectracarefoundation.org Please memo, Robert S. Kotter.
Condolences and Memories may be shared at www.mccannhealey.com under the obituary of Robert S. Kotter. Funeral Arrangements and Inquires may be made through McCANN-HEALEY FUNERAL HOME, Gloucester City, Ph:856-456-1142.