July 6, 2016
Norma Kottemann, a distinguished benefactor of the University of Illinois at Chicago College of Dentistry, passed away at the age of 84 on June 21, 2016.
Mrs. Kottemann and her late husband, alumnus of the College of Dentistry Dr. George Kottemann, ’55, Orthodontics ’59, provided the funding that established the Kottemann Gallery of Dentistry at the College.
“Norma and Dr. Kottemann were among the College of Dentistry’s most active, dedicated, and supportive benefactors,” said Mark J. Valentino, Assistant Vice Chancellor for Advancement. “Her legacy to the College will live on through the philanthropic support that she and Dr. Kottemann provided to the Kottemann Gallery of Dentistry and other College causes. They were extremely kind and genuine people.”
The University of Illinois at Chicago College of Dentistry Kottemann Gallery of Dentistry exhibits the College’s historical achievements; shows the College’s profound impact on dental teaching, research, and public service; and features graphics, text, and approximately 200 artifacts of dental equipment and instruments. Since the gallery’s completion in 2000, the Kottemanns continued to support it by funding upgrades and improvements.
The Kottemanns also funded an operatory in the College’s Orthodontics Clinic, and helped lead the effort to establish the Leo and Wanda Sabien Class of 1955 endowed scholarship at the College.
Hosting their first reception for the College at their home in Peoria, IL, in 1995, the Kottemanns helped establish the College’s increased advancement efforts in downstate Illinois. They held several receptions during the University’s Campaign Illinois and Brilliant Futures campaigns during the 1990s and 2000s, and led the planning for a boat cruise in Peoria during the College’s Centennial year in 2013.
“We very much appreciate Norma and George’s generous financial contributions, but we also appreciate their generous contributions of time and advocacy as well,” said Dean Clark Stanford. “We are grateful to them for opening their home for alumni receptions, and for taking leadership roles and coming to all of our events so long as their health permitted.”
Mrs. Kottemann had suffered from Alzheimer’s disease in recent years and resided in a nursing facility in St. Louis, MO. She and Dr. Kottemann had been married for 62 years and lived in Peoria. He passed away one year before on June 20, 2015.
Born Norma Rodems in Springfield, IL, Mrs. Kottemann was a 1952 graduate of Bradley University in Peoria. She was a member of the Gamma Phi Beta sorority and received the sorority’s national Carnation Award for service.
She and Dr. Kottemann married on June 29, 1952, and Dr. Kottemann was fond of saying that Mrs. Kottemann earned her “PHT degree” (for “Putting Hubby Through” dental school) as she held several jobs while Dr. Kottemann was a student at the College of Dentistry. She helped him start his orthodontic practice in Peoria, which he ran for 34 years.
Mrs. Kottemann was a highly active volunteer, serving in several roles with the Peoria County Court Counselor Program and as a board member for Planned Parenthood of the Heart of Illinois and the Center for Prevention of Abuse. She also was active with the Methodist Hospital Service League.
The Kottemanns established the sculpture studio at Bradley University’s Heuser Hall. They traveled extensively, often to places that allowed them to view and collect contemporary art. They were named Arts Partners of Central Illinois Arts Partners of the Year in 2008. They also participated in alumni activities at Peoria High School.
Bradley named Mrs. Kottemann to its Centurion Society in 2004. The society recognizes alumni accomplishments in business and in the community.
Mrs. Kottemann is survived by her daughter, Kathy Wire, wife of Jim; son Karl Kottemann, husband of Suzi; five grandchildren; and two great-grandchildren.
Norma and George Kottemann “were a constant loving presence and inspiration for their family and friends,” said Kathy Wire.
A memorial service will be held Saturday, Aug. 13, at 1 p.m. at the Universalist Unitarian Church of Peoria, 3000 W. Richwoods Blvd., Peoria, IL 61604.
Contributions in Mrs. Kottemann’s name may be made to the College via the Office of Advancement, Ana Lisa Ogbac, Director of Donor Relations, Room 404EA, MC 621, (312) 996-0485, firstname.lastname@example.org.
Photo: Dr. George Kottemann and Mrs. Norma Kottemann at the UIC College of Dentistry Kottemann Gallery.