James R. Kotala

james kotala

February 25, 1932 ~ January 4, 2024

Born in: Aliquippa, Pennsylvania
Resided in: Arden, North Carolina

James R. “Jim” Kotala, 91, of Arden, passed away Thursday, January 4, 2024, after a short period in hospice at his home.

He was the devoted husband of 50 years to the late Joan Conrady Kotala, and son of Frank and Anna Horvat Kotala. He was preceded in death by his brother, Father Edward Kotala and his sister, Carol Sullivan.

Born in Aliquippa, PA, and later relocating to Western NC, Jim was employed by Westinghouse for over 34 years. Before retiring, he served as Plant Manager, London, KY.

At work and in life, he was driven by continuous improvement, and had a passion for mentoring and developing people. He had many skills and talents. He freely shared his handyman abilities with anyone needing help, spending hundreds of hours on woodworking and home improvement projects for family and friends.

Jim is survived by daughters Karen (Bob) Sherman and Lori (Zig) Paul, beloved granddaughter, Hannah, and special buddy, Mickey, his cat.

Viewing for family and friends will be held from 9-10:30 a.m. on Tuesday, January 9th, at Groce Funeral Home, 72 Long Shoals Rd, Arden. A Funeral Mass will follow at 11 a.m. at St. Barnabas Roman Catholic Church, 109 Crescent Hill Rd, Arden. Following the funeral, friends and relatives are welcome to join the family for a reception.

A committal service will be held on Wednesday, January 10th, at 10 a.m. at the Western Carolina State Veterans Cemetery in Black Mountain.


For those who wish to pay their respects: January 9, 2024 9:00 am - 10:30 am

Room: Sanctuary

Groce Funeral Home at Lake Julian
72 Long Shoals Road
Arden, NC 28704


Funeral Mass: January 9, 2024 11:00 am - 12:00 pm

Room: Sanctuary

St. Barnabas Catholic Church
109 Crescent Hill Road
Arden, NC 28704


Reception: January 9, 2024 12:00 pm

Room: Fellowship Hall

St. Barnabas Catholic Church
109 Crescent Hill Road
Arden, NC 28704


Burial: January 10, 2024 10:00 am - 11:00 am

Room: Chapel

Western Carolina State Veteran's Cemetery
962 Old US Hwy 70
Black Mountain, NC 28711


Navy Veteran

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  1. Jim was a presence in my life from the time I met him, the time he offered me a job (On one knee – with a good raise), to the times we worked together later. But it was capped by discussions like the best bird houses. The work Jim and the personal Jim were so different and I’ll miss them both.

  2. Lori & Karen, Sorry to hear about your Dad. We had been friends with your Dad & Mom for a very long time, 35 years with your Mom & 51 years with your Dad. We vacationed together and out to eat numerous times a week both in Beaver and Asheville with us and your Mom & Dad. Unfortunately I was transferred to Milwaukee in 1994 so we lost contact for awhile. Then he and I joined forces together for a year and a half working for and in the Dominican Republic. I was again sent back to Milwaukee losing touch again our friendship. So sorry I have lost one of my best friends, I’ll clarify that, my best friend. Sorry Mim and I can’t make the service, we are baby-sitting two of our great-grandchildren. We are blessed with 7 grandchildren and 6 great-grandchildren. Love to both of you, prayers coming your way. Glen & Marian Shanor

  3. Karen, Lori and family, you probably don’t remember me but I was your dad’s secretary in the 80’s at Westinghouse. You girls were talked about all the time. And I loved Joan to pieces. My husband and I met them several times at a Chinese restaurant in Spartanburg and when our son was a toddler we even met them at a Mexican restaurant in Myrtle Beach! They were such a fun couple and I’ll never forget them. Our prayers are with you all. Take care of Mickey too. Love, Debbie Lanning

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