Sunday, September 21, 2008

Dorothy Louise James Cochrane 1918-2008

Memorial Service for Mom
Sunday, August 3, 2008

Davidson United Methodist Church

Family photos at the reception

Will & Adam

Eric, Pris, Joe, Stokes, Nathan, Gary

Thos helps Porter, Chrissie in foreground, Leland in background

Amber, Cheyenne, Adam

Linda, Will, Scottie

Betty, Aunt Maxine, Candee, Amber, Uncle Jack, Scottie

Donna & Jim

Bob & Donna

Nancy Kay, George, Myrtle

Bridget & Joe

Scottie & Will

Saturday, August 2, 2008 BBQ supper at Mom's house for family & friends

Will, Jama, Jake, Donna, Matthew

Mike, Katie, Pat, (Kathy, & Candee with their backs to the camera)

Betty, Bridget, Scottie


Kay, May Frances, Bridget, Scottie, Mr. Overcash

Scottie, Cheyenne, Jake, Porter, Eric, Jim w. suspenders

Dorothy Louise James Cochrane

June 30, 1918 - July 6, 2008

Memorial Service Remarks

August 3, 2008


Lynn Scott (Scottie) Cochrane

First, I bring you heartfelt thanks for coming this afternoon to join us in celebrating our Mother’s life. I’m Scottie Cochrane, her elder daughter, and I’m the designated speaker on behalf of my sister, Nancy Kay, brothers, Jim and Eric, their spouses, AND Mom’s seven grandchildren and six great-grandchildren. As you’ll hear, it’s become a large group, just as she wanted and delighted in. My mission today is to tell you a bit about Mom’s long and productive life and to leave a record for her progeny.

Dorothy Louise James was born June 30, 1918 just off Tuckaseegee Road on the west side of Charlotte, in the house her grandfather had built using his own hand-made, sun-dried bricks. She was the first of three children born to Andrew Jackson James and Alene Holcomb James. For six years she was the only resident child in the large household of her paternal grandparents, Thomas Jefferson James and Virginia McKee James. From the beginning she was surrounded by a large and loving extended family, and that blessing set an example for the rest of her life. She carried on the tradition for 90 years and six days.

In 1924, when Mom was six, Andrew and Alene moved the family to Jonesville, in Union County, South Carolina, to live with Alene’s mother, Ada Scott Holcomb. Again, there was a big extended family. The following year her brother, Robert Jackson James, was born. By age 12 Mom was driving her Great-Grandpa, John Wesley Scott, and his wife around the county. When she was 14, her sister, Maxine Adair James, was born. Dorothy always loved having a baby nearby, and she usually managed to have that, too.

In 1933 Andrew moved the family back to Charlotte to get Mom away from a boyfriend he didn’t approve of! Mom graduated from Derita High School in 1935, having met Ralph Porter Cochrane there. She desperately wanted to attend college, and though she had been accepted at what is now UNC-G, the depression, plus Grandaddy’s view that women didn’t need a college education prevented that. Fortunately, Mom did take a bookkeeping course, which provided her a profession and a decent living.

At 7 a.m. on June 21, 1939, at Williams Memorial Presbyterian Church on Beatties Ford Road, Mom married Ralph Cochrane on his 21st birthday and just nine days before her 21st. That day they launched their 50 years of life together with a one-night honeymoon to Linville Falls in the mountains of North Carolina.

Their first child, James Irvin Cochrane, was born June 22, 1941. He and Mom followed Dad around the country during World War II, living in Summerville, South Carolina; Biloxi, Mississippi; Lincoln, Nebraska; and Denver, Colorado; among other places. Though Mom wanted to settle in Denver after the war, Dad insisted they come home to Charlotte, where he felt they had family responsibilities.

I was born March 23, 1947, nine months to the day after Dad came home from the war on my brother Jim’s fifth birthday. With several other veterans, Dad soon launched Electrical Contracting and Engineering Company on North Graham Street. He eventually bought out the other partners, and the company grew and prospered for more than 40 years, especially after Mom returned to work in the late 1950s as bookkeeper, office manager, and later Vice President. But before she did that, she brought us Nancy Kay Cochrane on May 20, 1950, and Eric Ranson Cochrane on January 13, 1956.

The rest of this story is one of endless hard work, care-giving, perseverance, joy, some sadness, not-quite-enough travel, professional fulfillment, and MOST IMPORTANT to her, a growing list of progeny – all of us charged with living out the huge dreams of Dorothy and Ralph Cochrane. The other twelve direct offspring include:

Her grandchildren:

o Thomas Irwin Cochrane, born July 30, 1970

o Jama Elizabeth Cochrane, born February 7, 1973

o Adam Stokes McClellan, born September 21, 1974

o William James McAuley, III, born July 18, 1975

o Joseph Matthew McClellan, born August 12, 1978

o Andrew Holland Cochrane, born March 17, 1986

o Nathaniel Scott Cochrane, born October 9, 1989

And her Great-grandchildren:

§ Cheyenne Leigh McClellan, born August 11, 1996

§ MacKenzie Mary Cochrane, born December 25, 1998

§ Matthew Lee Willbanks, born on Mom’s birthday, June 30, 2001

§ James Porter Cochrane, born February 3, 2003

§ Jake Kieran Willbanks, born August 9, 2004

§ Thomas Cooper Willbanks, born February 21, 2006

Mom also forged strong, supportive relationships with her childrens’ spouses - Donna Harry, Stokes McClellan, Priscilla Davis, and Louis Middleman. I think I can safely say her strong influence in their lives was a blessing most of the time, just like it was in those of her biological children, and I can definitely say it was never boring. In fact, Jesse Brooks, one of Mom’s caregivers at the Oaks, told me recently that whenever she got a little restless or bored at work, she’d just go see Ms. Cochrane. Mom was lively and engaged, reading and talking, until she fell three days before her death.

Mom and Dad taught all of us to work hard, to make something of ourselves, and above all, to behave ethically in all things. At first I was going to say they told us to try to behave ethically, but in fact they did not say try, they said do it. One of the most memorable things Mom ever told me was that in maturity she finally learned to act according to her own conscience, and not to worry about what others do or don’t do. I quote her, “In the end you have to live with your own conscience, no one else’s.”

Last year, Mom told Cheyenne and me, that it would be o.k. to cry for ourselves when she’s gone, but not to cry for her, because she’d be ready to go when the time came. It worked out exactly as she hoped it would. She also asked me to be sure to say “She was a good wife, a good mother, and she loved people.” That’s easy to say, because it was so obvious to everyone who knew her.

Mom was the center — the bedrock — of our family, and she will be sorely missed, but we’re grateful she lived such a long, rewarding life and she didn’t suffer long at the end. In closing, I want above all to honor and thank our sister, Nancy Kay, brother-in-law Stokes, our cousin, Kathy Auten, Cheyenne, and the loving staff at The Oaks, all of whom gave Mom the kind of attention and superior care she spent her life giving others.

Mom’s legacy will live on in the hearts and minds of her family and the legion of people she befriended. We are strong because we stand on her shoulders. That is her ultimate gift to all of us.