Devout Christian from Arona was known as jokester
Gerald Cochran was a devout Christian and a loving family man, but he also was a classic older brother.
Cochran's brother, Bill, recalled him asking for help in putting fender skirts on a 1941 Dodge when they were kids. In return, Mr. Cochran promised he would teach his little brother how to drive. When it became clear that had been a ruse, Bill got angry and kicked all of the newly installed skirts off the car.
“He was a jokester,” said his daughter, Kim Tomich.
Gerald V. Cochran of Arona died Thursday, May 24, 2018, of complications related to Parkinson's disease. He was 83.
Mr. Cochran was born July 13, 1934, in Mendon, a son of the late Jesse and Nellie Clegg Cochran. He served in the Air Force as an air police officer.
On June 4, 1955, Mr. Cochran married his late wife of 43 years, Jane A. Sinnamond Cochran. The two met through the church they attended, near Jane's hometown of Apollo.
Later in life, Mr. Cochran returned to the church, according to the Rev. Robert Ross at Heritage Baptist Church in Jeannette, where Mr. Cochran was a member.
“From what he said, his life was a complete change once he came to the church and began sharing his faith with other people,” Ross said. “He had a warm smile and a real concern for others. If someone had a need, he would make sure everyone was praying for them.”
Mr. Cochran spent his career working for U.S. Steel in Duquesne. Tomich said when her father wasn't working, he was taking the family on fishing and camping trips to Pymatuning, Keystone and Twin Lakes. He did not have a lot of one-on-one time with his children, but she said they enjoyed the time they had.
Mr. Cochran carried his sense of humor throughout his life.
“He volunteered at the Baldock nursing home until he couldn't do it anymore,” Tomich said. “But even at 88, he would say, ‘I'm not old; I'm going to visit the old people.' ”
Even in the days before he died, when Mr. Cochran did not have much physical ability, the humor was present.
“I asked him to do something to make me laugh,” his daughter said. “He couldn't do much besides move his mouth a little bit, but he flipped his tongue side to side. He was always joking around no matter what.”
Mr. Cochran is survived by two sons, Jeff L. Cochran of Derry and Tim J. Cochran of Ruffsdale; two daughters, Pam Foster of Yukon and Kimberly A. Geary Tomich of Arona; nine grandchildren; and three great-grandchildren.
Friends will be received from 2-4 and 6-8 p.m. today at Beatty-Rich Funeral Home, 136 Main St., Madison, where an 11 a.m. funeral service will take place Wednesday, followed by private interment at Madison Union Cemetery.