Bill "Cotton" Dunn, 79, PGA Golf Professional, formerly at Kernwood Country Club in Salem, died on Oct. 7th in Plano, Texas after a long battle with congestive heart failure.
A child of the dust bowl, Cotton was born Nov. 9, 1937 to C.L. and Leona Dunn in Visalia, Calif. They returned to Ada and Duncan, Okla. where Cotton was recognized early as a gifted multi-sport athlete. As a boy he learned the game of golf as a caddy and by his teen years was a member of the Duncan High School three-time State Championship golf team. In 1955 at 17-years old, Cotton was both the Oklahoma Junior and USGA Junior National Champion (beating Jack Nicklaus in the quarterfinals.) That same year he competed on the U.S. Junior Team that defeated the British in a Ryder Cup format match.
As the first person in his family to go to college, Cotton started his post high school golf career at the University of Houston before transferring to Oklahoma State, where he became an NCAA All American and Long Drive Champion. He graduated with an accounting degree in 1961. While serving in the U.S. Army stationed at Fort Sill, Okla., Cotton continued competing and won the Post Golf Championship.
He married his college sweetheart, Jerry Ann Lewis, with whom he recently celebrated their 57th wedding anniversary. After working two years for Texaco Oil Co. as a junior accountant, he chose professional golf as his true career path. Cotton competed on the PGA Tour, was a teaching and playing professional at The Apawamis Club, in Rye, N.Y., and enjoyed 13 years as the Director of Golf and Head Professional at Kernwood Country Club in Salem, Mass., before serving as the Head Professional at The Hamlet Country Club, in Delray Beach, Fla.
Cotton accepted his last golf position spanning 25 years as Director of Golf and Head Professional at the two courses of Prestonwood Country Club in Dallas, Texas. He was a 50 year, Class A, PGA member, a premier tournament competitor and Long Drive Champion, a skilled instructor, rules expert, mentor, and proud ambassador of the game of golf.
Cotton believed in growing the sport and initiated junior golf programs throughout his career. Over the years he was honored by his peers with a Distinguished Service Award, the Professional of the Year Award, and induction into the Duncan Athletes Hall of Fame.
From humble beginnings, Cotton lived the American dream. He was a man among men, with unmatched generosity and a commanding presence. His philosophy of life: "if you hit a ball out of bounds, tee up another, and swing!” Cotton is survived by his wife, Jerry Ann, two daughters, Sonya Hodson (Jim) and Marianne Hailey; four grandchildren, Hayley and Jonathan Hodson and Holt and Ben Calder, two sisters, Joanne Gallup and Mary Daggs, and numerous cousins, nieces and nephews.
A "celebration of life" memorial service will be Sunday, Oct. 15, at 3 p.m. in the Faith Chapel at Prestonwood Baptist Church at 6801 W. Park Blvd., Plano, Tx. 75093 with a reception following. Contributions may be sent to Prestonwood Christian Academy's Mission Scholarships at the address above or a favorite charity.
Published on  October 13, 2017