Skip to content

Soprano Solo Artist Marilyn Cotton Passes Away


Marilyn Dillow Cotton was born to Oddie and Thelma Dillow in Red Bank, Tennessee on December 14, 1933, and passed to her rest on May 20, 2016, in Loma Linda, California.  Marilyn is known as one of the greatest soprano solo artists in the Seventh-day Adventist Church, choosing to dedicate her voice and life to God instead of the lucrative offers she received for stage performance.  

As a young college student, she sang with Faith for Today, and subsequently was the first and long-time featured artist for It Is Written with George Vandeman for 38 years, retiring when he retired.  Through the years, Marilyn produced many albums, and with her husband Daniel L. Cotton (PUC class ’52), evangelized around the world through The Quiet Hour to share the love of Jesus.

Surviving Marilyn and awaiting the great reunion is her beloved husband, Dan, along with their four daughters and families: Patti Cotton McNeily and husband Greg McNeily, children Will Frei and wife Tina Guldhammer Frei and their two sons Viggo and Jack; Peter D. J. Pettis; and Jeffrey Pettis.  Jenny Cotton Oliver and husband Daniel Oliver, with children Aimée Oliver Rogers and husband Jeff Rogers; James Oliver and wife Antje Gallewski Oliver; Benjamin Oliver and wife Elizabeth Rice Oliver; Timothy Oliver; Beth Cotton McCarty and son Hunter McCarty.  Lori Cotton Thomas and husband Randy Thomas, and children Crystal Thomas Morgan and husband Brandon Morgan; Randall Thomas and wife Hillary Hirst Thomas; and Sarah Thomas.

A celebration of life service is being planned in the Loma Linda area in the coming weeks.  If you would like to send a message or tribute to the family, notes and cards may be sent c/o Patti Cotton McNeily, 2263 El Capitan Drive, Riverside, California 92354.  Online testimonials and notes may be shared at  








In lieu of flowers, and for those wishing to honor her memory, a gift to Southern Adventist University’s music department to advance young people’s musical talent, is greatly appreciated.  Contact the SAU’s development department at 423.236.2772, or mail to Southern Adventist University, Advancement, POB 370, Collegedale, TN 37421, and earmark “The Marilyn Cotton Fund.”


If you respond to this article, please:

Make sure your comments are germane to the topic; be concise in your reply; demonstrate respect for people and ideas whether you agree or disagree with them; and limit yourself to one comment per article, unless the author of the article directly engages you in further conversation. Comments that meet these criteria are welcome on the Spectrum Website. Comments that fail to meet these criteria will be removed.








Subscribe to our newsletter
Spectrum Newsletter: The latest Adventist news at your fingertips.
This field is for validation purposes and should be left unchanged.