Christopher Jon Cota, beloved husband, son, brother, uncle and friend, passed from this life on May 28, 2012. Born on December 27, 1965, Chris early exhibited those traits that all who knew and loved him came to treasure. Ever the jokester, his wit and humor are the subject of many a family story and were evident throughout his life.
Chris was born and raised in Santa Barbara, attending local schools and graduating from San Marcos High School. In January 2000, he married the love of his life, Gerri, whom he credited with teaching him about unconditional love. Most of his life he lived and worked in Santa Barbara, only recently having relocated to Santa Maria. A hard worker, it was not uncommon for him to hold two jobs at a time, and the diversity of the list proves his varied interests and considerable gifts. Most notable were his work with the Santa Barbara County Marshal’s Office, his more than 20-year stint as a driver — then supervisor — for the Santa Barbara Metropolitan Transit District and, most recently, his service with American Medical Response as an emergency medical technician and mental health technician. The common theme throughout his work — indeed, throughout his life — was his ability to charm, entertain, convince, cajole and joke with others.
A man who could fix anything, his “MacGyverisms” were legendary. He enjoyed spending time with family and friends, riding his beloved Harley, camping with his wife, and unwinding by watching reruns of The Andy Griffith Show and I Love Lucy.
Chris is survived by his beloved wife, Gerri; mother, Barbara Cota; brother Freddie Cota (Terie); sister,Kimbra Cota(Jamie); sister-in-law Felicia Huerta (Eze); brother-in-law, Eddie Nava; and surrogate grandfather, Nonno Tabacchi. He also leaves behind eight nephews: Aaron Cota (Michelle), Kevin Cota (Jillian), Robby Cota, Christopher Cota, Tony Velarde, Richard Munoz Nava, Isaac Huerta; and one niece, Amanda Velarde; as well as numerous aunts, uncles, cousins and special friends. In this latter group are those who particularly bear mentioning: Noel Rivas, Alfred “Tiger” Gonzalez, Jim Fuhlrodt, and Eric and Mary Stones. Preceding Chris in death were his father, Fred Cota Sr., and father-in-law Alfonso Robert Nava.
Christopher Cota lived a vibrant and courageous life and left all of us better for his presence in ours. Please join family and friends to remember the gift he has been to each of us during the viewing/Rosary at 4 p.m. Tuesday, June 5, and a funeral Mass at 10 a.m. Wednesday, June 6. Both will be at St. Raphael’s Church, 5444 Hollister Ave. in Goleta.