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James W. Cocke(1917 - 2014)

James W. Cocke 96, passed away January 27, 2014. He was born on April 6, 1917, to Gordon and Kate Cocke, in Clarksville, TN. He started life on the Cocke's small farm, then the family moved to Nashville. In high school he participated in several sports, as well as ROTC. After graduation, he worked toward a commission as a 2nd Lieutenant in the Army Reserve. In the years before World War II, Jim attended Peabody College in Nashville, where he met his future wife, Marjorie Warwick, whom he would marry in 1941. When the war broke out he joined the 6th Calvary, the beginning of a 20 year career in the US Army. He served in the European Theater during WWII, landing in Normandy on June 9, 1944, three days after D-Day. In July of 1948 Jim was promoted to Lieutenant Colonel. Shortly thereafter, he and Marjorie were posted to Salzburg, Austria, where their son, Robert was born in 1950. The family returned to the US in 1953, and resided at Fort Knox, KY. In 1955-56 Jim was a Professor of Military Science and Tactics in the ROTC program at Vanderbilt University, in the couple's hometown of Nashville. In 1957, James was posted to Korea. Robert and his mother moved to Tucson during Jim's Korea tour, hoping the climate would help Marjorie's asthma. Upon Jim's return from Korea, the family spent another two years at Fort Knox. Lt. Col. Cocke retired from the Army in 1960, and the family settled in Tucson. In early 1962, Marjorie died suddenly during surgery. The time after her death was a difficult one. Jim tried his hand as a sales rep for a clothing company, but quickly realized that this was not his niche. He worked briefly for the Tucson Chamber of Commerce, before being hired by the Valley National Bank (now JP Morgan Chase) in 1963. He worked at the VNB for more than 20 years, retiring as Vice President for Economic Development in 1986. During his time with the bank, Jim devoted himself to the economic, cultural, and educational progress of the City of Tucson. He served on (or chaired) many boards and committees, but the project he was proudest of was his participation in the founding of Pima Community College. In recognition of his contribution, he received the Founder's Award from the college in 2009. In 1964, Jim became acquainted with Joan Waterson Hopping when she moved into the house next door. Joan was recently widowed, and had four children around Robert's age. Jim and Joan were married on October 31, 1964. Their almost 50 year union was filled with joy, adventure, effort and reward. Jim's retirement from the bank allowed him to pursue some of his other passions. He was an avid golfer and sports fan, especially of UofA football and basketball. Another passion was travel. Jim and Joan visited many countries during their time together, and in his lifetime, Jim set foot on every continent but Antarctica. James was truly a family man, a terrific husband and father. He was kind, generous, and loving, but firm when firmness was called for. He was a man of honor, integrity, and wisdom, and he will be greatly missed by those who knew him. James W. Cocke was preceded in death by his parents, his first wife, Marjorie and his sister, Nancy Batts. He is survived by his wife, Joan; son, Robert; brother, Glen Cocke and stepchildren, David Hopping, Anne "Nancy" Hopping, Spencer Hopping and Amy Hopping Horton ("his little girl"). There are six grandchildren, David Holton, Amanda Richards, Andrew Hopping, Joan Machamer, Elizabeth Horton and James Horton. There are five great-grandchildren so far. Cremation has taken place. A celebration of Jim's life will be held at a future date. In lieu of flowers, please consider a gift to the James W. Cocke Scholarship Fund, Pima Community College Foundation, 4905 E. Broadway #252, Tucson, AZ, 85709-1320. Arrangements by ADAIR FUNERAL HOMES, Dodge Chapel.



Published in the Arizona Daily Star on Feb. 9, 2014
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