In Memory of




Obituary for Michael James Cotton

Michael James Cotton

Of Waltham, passed away unexpectedly Tuesday February 7th, 2023, with his beloved wife and loving daughter by his side in Cambridge Hospital at the age of 78. A week prior to his 79th birthday.

Born on February 20, 1944, in Waltham; son of the late John and Marie (Keating) Cotton. Michael was raised and lived his entire life in Waltham.

Michael grew up on the southside of Waltham and graduated from Waltham High School with the class of 1962. He went on to further his education by attending Bentley College.

In 1964 Michael was drafted by the United States Army for four years during the Vietnam War. He was enlisted to the Military Police earning accolades of sharp shooting (rifle) and expert pistol.

In September of 1973, Michael married the love of his life Marie Diane DeFuria. This September they would have celebrated their 50th wedding anniversary.

Upon returning home from the service, Michael started his career at Charles Manero Catering on Felton Street, Waltham learning the canteen truck business. Soon after began his own successful route in the food service industry. Michael opened his own deli/sub shops. Booze & Bunz, Bagels & Bunz and The Sub Factory. In 1979 he opened his first liquor store inside of Booze & Bunz. Shortly after he moved the business to Waverly Oaks Road and changed the name to Michael’s Liquors. His store soon became the highest grossing for Budweiser sales in the city.

Michael purchased many multi-family homes in Waltham and began another position as “landlord”. In 1990 he received his Real Estate License and additionally began building million-dollar homes around Bedford, MA and parts of New Hampshire.

On February 28, 1983, Mayor Clark appointed Michael to the Zoning Board of Appeals (ZBA). To date Michael has been the longest sitting member where he currently held the seat of Vice Chairman.

He was an active member of the Waltham Community; coaching Warrendale baseball for years and lighting up the Waltham Common for Christmas along with the help of friends and family. He was a longtime member of the Waltham Lions Club.

He was a huge sports fan, a lover of the New England Patriots but mostly the Boston Red Sox. Other interests included being a black belt in jujitsu.

In 2002 Michael published a book “911 the day the call went out around the world”.

In 2006 at the age of 62 Michael went back to Bentley College to finish his degree. He also received his Captains License from the U.S. Coast Guard. He was an avid boater, and he loved his 38’ egg harbor “Misbehavin” that he kept in Cambridge at the Charles Gate Yacht Club. He met many lifelong friends here.

As busy as he was, Michael enjoyed vacationing at his summer home on the water in Maine and trips with his family to his condo in Florida. He even enjoyed spending time away in Bermuda and the Bahamas.

In 2013 he sold his liquor store and started on his retirement journey; enjoying life and celebrating the birth of his two grandchildren.

He is survived by his beloved wife of 49 years, Diane Marie (DeFuria) Cotton, his loving & devoted daughter Carla Rippin and her husband Robert of Bolton, his cherished grandchildren Patrick Michael and Taylor Marie. In addition, as Patriarch of the family he leaves many nieces, nephews, great nieces, and great nephews who will miss him dearly.

He is predeceased by his parents John Cotton and Marie (Keating) Cotton and his brothers John Cotton and Richard Thomas Cotton Sr.

Those who wish to pay their respects to Michael and his family can do so at the Brasco & Sons Memorial Funeral Home, 773 Moody Street, Waltham on Wednesday, February 15th from 2pm-4pm and again from 6pm – 8pm. For those who wish to pay their final respects, but are unable to attend, please be sure to sign the guestbook at Parking attendants will be on duty.

Family and friends are welcome to gather and celebrate Michael’s life and remember the love and friendship he shared with others at a Mass of Christian Burial at Sacred Heart Church, 311 River Street in Waltham on Thursday February 16th at 11:00 am. Services will conclude with United States Military Honors in recognition of Michael's faithful & honorable service to our country.

In lieu of flowers expressions of sympathy may be made in his memory to