Second Half

By Cheryl Van Tuyl Jividen  ::  Photography by Jason Risner

Life can be circuitous.  For David and Madeline Cottrell in their new Di Lusso Villa, the journey has been one of intersected and parallel paths. The two met as professional peers in the early 1980’s in Memphis, Tennessee where they both held leadership positions for Fedex.


In the midst of her successful business career, Madeline, a Tulane graduate chose to move to Mandeville, Louisiana and raise her three children. David, a zealous University of Arkansas alum, left FedEx to turn around a chapter 11 company for three years and then began his own company.

The two lost touch with each other. Neither knew that the other was living a very similar life full of devoted love and the challenges of caring for their seriously ill spouses. After 36 years of marriage, and a valiant fight, David’s wife, Karen succumbed to breast cancer. Madeline’s husband of 32 years, John passed away after a brave battle with Parkinsonism.

Thirty years after they met in Memphis, the two reconnected on an Ex-Fedex message board. David in his grief contacted Madeline for advice on how to move forward after his loss. Eventually a long distance courtship was sparked.

In 2013 the couple wed and began their new lives together. Says Madeline, “David and I combined have six children – ironically we both have two girls and a boy named Michael. When we married, we made a firm decision to stay close to both families and split our time between Texas where David’s children live and Louisiana where my children, siblings and mom live.”

The couple decided to move from David’s home in Horseshoe Bay to Cordillera Ranch to be closer to David’s family. They divide their time between their home in Covington, Louisiana and Cordillera Ranch, in part to allow Madeline to continue management of her farm. “I spent many years volunteering in children’s school and youth groups, travelling to horse shows and sporting events and enjoying family time at our farm. Over the years, the farm has become a place where youth groups love to come for weekend retreats and summer camps, so I now manage that from near or far. The farm, called Bocamb,  is located in Folsom, about an hour north of New Orleans.”

The duo also travels often for David’s work. David is founder and CEO of Cornerstone Leadership, which he started in 1996. Having authored over 30 books, he continues writing management and leadership books, and speaks about his philosophies at dozens of keynote events around the world each year. His newest release — Don’t be Stupid. Don’t be a Jerk. The Two Greatest Rules for Leaders to Win with Class will be published this spring.

Cordillera Ranch initially caught David’s attention in a Dallas Morning News article about top golf courses in Texas. They enlisted architect Roy Braswell and Gabe Garcia of Pasadera Builders to fulfill their vision after they chose the right location in the Di Lusso Villas. “We love the Hill Country and the beautiful views offered in Di Lusso. We wanted to be close to the clubhouse and also liked the lock and leave concept. The ready-made community has helped us meet new friends quickly and some of our long-time best friends built next door,” says Madeline. David agrees that since they moved in June of 2015, the fit has been great, “We’ve met a lot of wonderful people through The Club and our Di Lusso neighbors. Di Lusso is like a village where we’re all connected. Most of the Di Lusso residents travel frequently and we look out for each other when someone is away from home.”

Madeline says an unexpected pleasure of their home is the time they are able to spend outside, “We love living on the golf course and spending time on the outdoor terrace. It’s pleasant even in the summer. David is an awesome griller and I enjoy cooking traditional Cajun dishes and eating outdoors.”

It’s more than their home and location that have impressed the Cottrells; it’s the Cordillera Ranch lifestyle, amenities and services. Madeline, an accomplished equestrian with hunter jumper experience hadn’t been on a horse in 10 years when she joined Mary Ann Smith’s trail riding group. “The trails are fabulous,” she says. “I enjoy trail riding at the Equestrian Center with other women who share this passion. The horses that The Club owns are perfect for me and I don’t have to buy and board a horse to participate. The trail horses are young and healthy!” From the stable’s young herd, she’s chosen Paisley, an Appaloosa she rides every chance she gets.

David, a lifetime golfer is on the links at least twice a week and has enjoyed meeting new people to play golf with. “Cordillera management does an excellent job with new residents like us, hosting events like golf tournaments, Gold Rush nights, wine dinners, new member socials, etc.,” says Madeline. David calls out the professionals who make the experience special, specifically Marc DeWall, Debbie Pepper and Monty Becton. David cites the Country Club as one of the best features they didn’t realize they’d enjoy so much.  “From the moment Phil Sloan greets us we feel at home. The way we are treated is a wonderful gift. There are a lot of great people that have helped us blend in.”

Sharing their home and the beauty of Hill Country living with family is a priority. “We have seven grandchildren living in Texas (with another on the way in June), four of whom live close by, in Spring Branch. We spend time with them in the pool area and we love how much they love to visit us here,” says David.

The Cottrells lead Christ-centered lives. Madeline has even contributed her biblical knowledge to David’s writing. She sees even more faith opportunities ahead, “We both share great joy in a close relationship with Our Lord and have been extremely active in our Churches. We look forward to serving in new and exciting ways in our future together.”

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