Dr. Charles “Chase” Cotton
March 10, 1954 - March 14, 2023
Dr. Charles “Chase” Cotton of Newark, DE, died Tuesday, March 14, 2023 of cardiac arrest at Christiana Hospital in Newark. He was sixty-nine years old. Chase, son of the late Carol Jane Cotton and Charles Wade Holcomb, was born March 10, 1954 in Dallas, TX. Raised in Dallas, Chase received his Bachelor’s degree in Mechanical Engineering from the University of Texas at Austin, where he was a member of Tau Beta Pi. After college, Chase moved to Delaware to work as an engineer for DuPont. He subsequently returned to school at the University of Delaware to earn his Ph.D. in Electrical Engineering in 1984. While studying at UD he met and married Valentine “Val” Pupo of Newark in 1980. They had four children together. The family relocated to Hopatcong, NJ and San Ramon, CA before finally returning to Newark in 2000.
Chase Cotton was a successful researcher, carrier executive, product manager, consultant, and educator for the technologies used in Internet and data services in the carrier environment for over 30 years. Beginning in the mid-80’s Chase’s communications research at Bellcore involved creating new algorithms and methods in bridging, multicast, packet-based applications including voice & video, traffic monitoring, transport protocols, custom VLSI, and Gigabit networking. Chase held a 1988 patent for multicast routing from his time at Bellcore. In the mid-90’s as the commercial Internet began to blossom, he transitioned to assist carriers worldwide as they started their Internet businesses including ISPs, hosting and web services, and the first large scale commercial deployment of DSL for consumer broadband. In 2000, Chase assumed research, planning, and engineering for Sprint’s global Tier 1 Internet provider, SprintLink, expanding and evolving the network significantly. At Sprint he led a team that enabled infrastructure for the first large scale collection and analysis of Tier 1 backbone traffic, and twice set the Internet 2 Land Speed World Record on a commercial production network.
In 2008, Chase returned to the University of Delaware’s Electrical and Computer Engineering Department, where he was a Senior Scientist, Professor of Practice, and Director of Delaware’s Center for Intelligent CyberSecurity. Most recently he was involved in the launch of a Cybersecurity initiative at UD, developing new security courses and degree programs. He was perpetually active in the ECE department, including running the department’s senior design program for undergraduates. He was a vocal advocate for the department’s students, and a supportive mentor who was deeply loved by his graduate student advisees.
Chase was a beloved husband and father, who will be remembered for his incredible warmth and kindness, his dedication to his family, and for his wonderfully unique sense of humor. Until his death he remained young at heart. He was eternally curious and had what seemed like an infinite variety of interests, including aeronautics and cars.
He is survived by his wife of 42 years, his children Courtenay, Kirsten, Jordan and Chase, his brother James “Jim” Cotton, and his aunts Nancy Cotton, Lea Ney, and Betty Cotton.
A visitation for family and friends will be held from 10 am until 11 am on Thursday, March 23, 2023, at Spicer-Mullikin Funeral Home, 121 West Park Place, Newark, DE, where a funeral service will begin at 11 am. Interment will follow in All Saints Cemetery, 6001 Kirkwood Highway, Wilmington, DE.