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Edward (Ned) Webb

Cooch, Jr.

Of Cooch's Bridge, died the 23rd day of September, 2010 at age 90.

A native Delawarean, Ned was born in Wilmington, Delaware on March 22, 1920, the son of the late Lt. Gov. Edward W. Cooch and Eleanor Bedford Wilkins Cooch. He was reared on the family farm at Cooch's Bridge. He was the 7th generation of his family to occupy the family home built in 1760 by his ancestor, Colonel Thomas Cooch.

A graduate of Newark High School and the University of Delaware, Class of 1941, Ned was ordered to active duty in the Army on July 30, 1941, as 2nd Lieutenant commissioned through the ROTC program. He was stationed at Fort Du Pont. He trained in mine planting and anti-aircraft defense. Following the outbreak of World War II, he was ordered to duty at Fort Miles. His mission was to plant mines across the entrance to the Delaware Bay protecting shipping from the German submarines that were then prevalent along the Atlantic Coast. In 1943 was promoted to Commanding Officer of Battery B of the 21st Coast Artillery. He also commanded Battery C which manned four three-inch guns. He was honorably discharged in December 1945 as a Major in the Officers Reserve Corps.

Ned entered the law school of the University of Virginia in February 1946, graduating with the Class of 1948, and was admitted to practice law in Delaware that same year. He served as law clerk for the Honorable John Biggs, Jr., then Chief Judge of the U.S. Court of Appeals of the Third Circuit. After 12 years of private practice, on March 1, 1960 he co-founded with the late Donald C. Taylor, Esq. the law firm of Cooch and Taylor. The two had met while Don was serving as a law clerk to United States District Court Judge Richard S. Rodney, at that time Ned's father-in-law. He was a long-time member of the American Bar Association and the Delaware State Bar Association. He served on the Board of Bar Examiners and was attorney for the Levy Court of New Castle County. He practiced law for 60 years, retiring in 2008.

Always active in community and civic affairs, Ned received the Merit Award from the University of Delaware in 1981, the Community Service Award from the Delaware State Bar Association in 1992, and in 2003 the Gold Citizenship award from the National Society, Sons of the American Revolution in recognition in part for his family's decision to place a conservation easement on the Cooch family farm at Cooch's Bridge, site of the Battle of Cooch's Bridge on September 3, 1777, the only Revolutionary War battle on Delaware soil. On December 7, 2006, he was presented with the Governor's Heritage Award by Governor Ruth Ann Minner.

Ned served for 19 years as a director of the Wilmington Trust Company; as a director for 39 years and president for six years of Delaware Wild Lands Inc. which has preserved thousands of acres of land in Delaware in its natural state; and by appointment of the Governor for 11 years to the Delaware Open Space Council. He was the recipient of numerous awards for his conservation efforts.

Ned was a member of the Delaware Historical Society where he served as Trustee for numerous terms; the Mayflower Society; the Society of Colonial Wars in the State of Delaware, serving as its Governor; the Society of the Cincinnati; the Sons of the American Revolution; the Wilmington Club; the New Castle Historical Society, for which he served as a director and president. He was a director and president of the Christina Conservancy, Inc., an organization dedicated to the environmental improvement of the Christina River, participating annually in the "Christina River cleanup." He was a member of other environmental, historical and patriotic societies. He served on the Executive Committee of the Governor's Task Force on the Future of the Brandywine and Christina Rivers. He also served with Former Governor Dale Wolf as Honorary Co-Chair of the Friends of the Delaware Veterans Home in Milford. He often led or participated in fund raising projects, such as serving as Chair of the Committee to raise funds for the restoration of Immanuel Church in New Castle after its disastrous fire of February 1, 1980. He was a past Vestryman of Immanuel Church.

He was predeceased by his first wife, Sarah Duval Rodney Cooch, whom he married June 12, 1946, the daughter of the late Judge Richard S. Rodney and Eliza Cochran Green Rodney. She died in 1996. He is survived by his wife, Nancy du Pont Cooch, the daughter of the late Eugene E. du Pont and Katherine Moxham du Pont, whom he married September 6, 2003., his son, Superior Court Judge Richard Rodney Cooch, his wife, Barbara Merritt Greenland Cooch, of New Castle, Delaware, their two children Richard Rodney Cooch, Jr. and Elizabeth Merritt Cooch, and by his daughter, Anne Bedford Cooch Doran, of Westford, Massachusetts, her husband Bruce Lee Doran, and their two children, Natalie Bodin Doran and Ross McCain Doran. He is also survived by his nephew Thomas Cooch and wife Sandra Cooch of Braintree, Vermont and their three children, Peter Bedford Cooch, Anne Wilkins Cooch and David Webb Cooch.

Burial will be private. A memorial service will be held at 4 pm, Wednesday, September 29, at the Du Pont Chapel, 215 Buck Road East, Greenville, DE 19807.

In lieu of flowers, the family suggests a contribution to the "Endowment Fund of the Pencader Heritage Area Association", to promote education and historical research about Pencader Hundred and the Battle of Cooch's Bridge. Address: 248 East Chestnut Hill Road, Newark, Delaware 19713. To send condolences visit




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Published in The News Journal on Sept. 24, 2010
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