Thomas “Tom” Kotten was born on November 23, 1946, and passed away on November 2, 2021, in Paso Robles, California. Tom was born in Sacramento, California, to mother Priscilla Ayers and father Darryll Kotten.  

He had suffered from numerous health issues in recent years related to exposure to Agent Orange in Vietnam.  He proudly served in the U.S. Navy Seabees Mobile Construction Battalion (MCB 121) during the Vietnam war, spending three years in the country. After Vietnam, he came home to start a 26-year career with the California Division of Forestry (currently known as Cal Fire). Tom spent most of his CDF career as the captain at the Parkfield fire station in southern Monterey County. He enjoyed teaching new firefighters and loved serving the public.  

He also enjoyed many hobbies such as building and flying remote-controlled airplanes, ham radio, and model trains. He was known around town as “Tootsie Roll Tom” for always having a supply of Tootsie Rolls in his coat pocket that he would give to kids, employees at the grocery store, the gas station, local restaurants, and just about everyone he would run into. In addition to Tootsie Rolls, he was a very generous person who would give money to people who needed it, spoil his grandchildren, donate money to schools, and bring Gatorades and sunflower seeds for the whole team when attending a high school baseball game.

Tom is survived by his son, Jeremy, his daughter-in-law, Courtney, and two grandchildren, Audrey and Emily.  

In honor of this wonderful man, do something kind for someone else, thank a firefighter, and remember our veterans on Veterans Day.