Rev. Dr. Robert Cotton Fite died of a cerebral hemorrhage on August 15, 2017, following a fall at home. Cotton served as the Board Chair of Seraj Library Project from 2009 until his death. He was deeply invested in the Palestinian cause and longed for a peaceful and just resolution to the Israeli/Palestinian conflict. An Episcopal priest and clinical psychologist, Cotton was invested in serving others his whole life.
Cotton was the 2017 Recipient of an Episcopal Peace & Justice Award - Click here .
Estephan & Laurie Salameh, Seraj’s co-founders, offered the following tribute on the Seraj Facebook page:
Estephan and I lost a very dear friend and Seraj Library Project’s Co-Chair last week Reverend Dr. Cotton Fite. As I type this I can hear his voice and his jovial laugh. Cotton worked tirelessly for his projects and causes, he marched and protested, wrote letters and made calls, organized dinners and events. He was a man of action. When he saw an injustice he did everything he could to correct it. Close to his heart was Palestine. He made frequent trips here, meeting people and listening to their stories to share back in the US. I’ll miss his gentle prodding for more updates and pictures about our work, his encouraging e-mails when the political situation appeared bleak, and his weekly check-ins on our family. Everyone who knew him was blessed by his friendship, his quick smile and even quicker wit. We are heartbroken and miss you already, Cotton.
Seraj Library Project
Empowering Palestinian Villages, One Library at a Time
Friend and colleague Newland Smith (retired from Seabury-Western Theological Seminary) writes:
Cotton Fite has been a good colleague for the past ten years. We began working together in the formation of the Palestine Israel Network. Cotton was the first convener of PIN and then went on to become the Chair of the Seraj Library Project.
At Saint Luke's Episcopal Church Evanston where he was a member of the clergy, Cotton was highly respected as a preacher and as a pastor. When I informed a fellow resident of the retirement community where my wife and I live of Cotton's death, this resident said, "Cotton saved my life." Two other residents, both members of St. Luke's, commented to me how much Cotton's pastoral visits had meant to them.
The Seraj Library Project is an excellent example of what works and Cotton knew this. I have lost a friend in Cotton. May he rest in peace with all the saints.
Naim Ateek (an active leader in the shaping of the Palestinian liberation theology):
I give thanks to God for the life and ministry of my friend Cotton and commend him to the loving mercy of God. I have always appreciated his faithful position on justice and peace for the Palestinians.
From the St Luke's Episcopal Church in Evanston Facebook page: "When Cotton would celebrate at the 10:00 AM Eucharist at St Luke’s he would often close the liturgy with his favorite blessing:
Life is short,
And we do not have much time
to gladden the hearts of those who
make the journey with us.
So... be swift to love,
and make haste to be kind.
And the blessing of God,
who made us,
who loves us,
and who travels with us
be with you now and forever. Amen."
Cotton loved engaging his many Palestinian friends, made on his frequent trips to the region.
A Memorial Service Celebrating the Life of Robert 'Cotton' Fite was held at St Luke's Episcopal Church on Saturday, October 7, 2017.
Notes may be addressed to Diane Fite, c/o: St. Luke's Church Evanston, address above.
Public notes may be posted on the Seraj Facebook page.
The family asks that any memorial gifts be made to the Cotton Fite Memorial Fund at Seraj Library Project. Follow this Link, which allows comments to be shared with Cotton's family
Seraj Library Project