Plano, TX (BlackNews.com) — Pioneer entrepreneur, philanthropist and trailblazer Mr. Comer J. Cottrell, Jr., one of the country’s most prolific African-American businessmen, died Friday, Oct. 3 at the age 82 at his Plano, Texas residence. Starting with a modest investment of $600 and broken typewriter, he built a multi-million dollar empire Pro-Line Hair Products and forever changed and revolutionize the hair care industry.
Pro-Line Hair Products would be the vehicle that would establish Mr. Cottrell’s legacy but it also allowed him to expand his sharp business acumen across other categories and industries to create jobs and opportunities for African Americans and others that might not have existed.
Mr. Cottrell was also co-founder of the Black Business Association of Los Angeles and he often said, “I value the ‘Golden rule’ above all other principles. Do unto others as you would have them do unto you.” This was his guiding principle as he soared to even greater success.
He was ultimate entrepreneur, and always recognizing a good investment, Mr. Cottrell became the first African American to become part owner of a major sports franchise the Texas Rangers baseball team, he was very instrumental in making that organization one of the most profitable in major league baseball.
A philanthropist at heart, in 1990 he purchased and restored the 131-acre, historical Black institution Bishop College for $1.5 million and renamed it Paul Quinn College. Mr. Cottrell was once quoted, “I would ask myself why me? Why have I been given so much Lord? I believe God knew that I would give back as much as I had been given to those he put in my path”.
Mr. Cottrell served on numerous boards including – the NAACP, National Urban League, YMCA, Dallas Family Hospital, Better Business Bureau, Compton College Foundation, the Texas Board Of Cosmetology, Paul Quinn College, Baylor University Foundation, and Dallas Black Chamber of Commerce.
Mr. Cottrell’s life and career has been celebrated and honored by presidents, mayors, governors, celebrities, sports figures and international dignitaries. He has impacted generations of African Americans and his legacy is one that is timeless and will have impact for generations to come.
He’s survived by his wife Felisha Starks Cottrell and their two sons; Bryce A. Cottrell and Lance A. Cottrell, his daughter Renee Cottrell-Brown, sons Comer Cottrell, III, Aaron Cottrell, nine grandchildren and one great grandchild.
In lieu of flowers, donations can be made to the Comer J. Cottrell Jr. Memorial Scholarship Fund, Paul Quinn College at 3837 Simpson Stuart Rd, Dallas, Texas 75241. For additional information about the scholarship fund, please go to www.pqc.edu.