John R. Cochran Jr.
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John R. Cochran Jr., U.S. Army Air Forces veteran and retired United States Postal Service executive whose career with the company spanned 44 years, died Wednesday, November 21, 2012 at Stonegates Retirement Community in Greenville, DE. Mr. Cochran was 87 years old and was the son of John Raymond and Julia Agnes Lynch Cochran. He was the second of eight children born February 6, 1925 in a humble home in Monkton, MD.
During the 1930's, he attended a one-room schoolhouse in Taylor, MD, and graduated from Bel Air High School in June, 1941. After graduation, he moved to Baltimore, started working for the Baltimore Gas and Electric Co. and met the love of his life, Mary Frances Gugerty Cochran. Mr. Cochran was drafted into the U.S. Army Air Forces and reported for active duty in April, 1943. He served as a radio operator/top turret gunner flying B-24 aircraft throughout the European corridor during World War II for the 376th Bomb Group, a member of the 514th Squadron. On his third mission, he survived a plane crash near Brindisi, Italy. He completed his 50th combat mission on December 26, 1944. Upon returning from the war, John married his sweetheart, Mary Frances Gugerty, settled in Baltimore, MD and raised a family of 8 children, 22 grandchildren and 18 great-grandchildren. They were married for 62 years.
After the war, soldiers were returning home by the thousands and, like many of them, Mr. Cochran found it difficult to find a job and affordable housing for his new family in Baltimore. Upon receiving some career advice from his father-in-law, Leo Gugerty, he took the Civil Service Exam with veterans' preference and applied for a job with the Baltimore Post Office. He began his postal career with the Baltimore Post Office on March 6, 1946 as a substitute mail clerk. His career advanced with several promotions at the Baltimore Post Office, and he then went on to hold several senior management positions with the Washington, D.C. Region, the Pennsylvania District Office in Harrisburg, PA and the South Jersey District. He served as Postmaster, Washington, D.C. from 1981 to 1987 and finished his postal career in March, 1990 as the Deputy Director of the International Bureau of Postal Services, Washington, D.C. After his retirement from the Postal Service, Mr. Cochran worked five years for DynCorp, York, PA then served as a postal consultant for 10 years at the MBNA Corporation, Wilmington, DE, completing a professional career that spanned over six decades. He was an active parishioner of St. Joseph on the Brandywine Roman Catholic Church, Wilmington, DE and was a member of the Knights of Columbus.
Mr. Cochran is survived by eight children from his marriage to Mary Frances Gugerty Cochran who predeceased him; daughters, Kathleen Cochran Conneen and her husband Drew of Castle Rock, CO; Mary Carol Cochran Davis and her husband Phil of Baltimore, MD; Anne Cochran Partridge and her husband Jack of Dublin, OH; Rosemary Cochran Manganiello and her husband Al of Newark, DE; sons, John R. Cochran III and his wife Patricia of Wilmington, DE; Lawrence J. Cochran and his wife Diane of Omaha, NE; Michael J. Cochran and his wife Vera of Landenberg, PA; and James G. Cochran and his wife Lisa of Frisco, TX. Mr. Cochran is survived by 22 grandchildren and 18 great-grandchildren. Also surviving are his sisters, Dorothy Kranz of Sunnyside, WA and Julia Neumann of Cincinnati, OH and his brothers, Thomas Francis Cochran of Bel Air, MD; Charles Cochran and his wife Shirley of Baltimore, MD; and Stanley Cochran of Baltimore, MD. Mr. Cochran was predeceased by his brother, Clarence Cochran and his sister, Mary Margaret Cochran.
A viewing will be held at Doherty Funeral Home, 3200 Limestone Road, Pike Creek on Thursday, November 29, from 6-8 pm and at St. Joseph on the Brandywine Catholic Church at 9 am on Friday, November 30, 2012. Following the viewing, a Mass of Christian Burial will be celebrated at St. Joseph on the Brandywine Catholic Church, 10 Old Church Road, Greenville, DE 19807 at 10:30 am. Burial with military honors will be in the adjoining church cemetery.
In lieu of flowers, the family suggests that contributions be made to The Ministry of Caring, 506 N. Church Street, Wilmington, DE 19801.
To send condolences, visit:
Doherty Funeral Homes - Pike Creek
3200 Limestone Road Wilmington, DE 19808
Published in The News Journal from Nov. 28 to Nov. 29, 2012