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James Cochran


1935 - 2019 Obituary Condolences
James Cochran Obituary
COCHRAN, James Russell James Russell Cochran, 83, passed away on Friday January 4, 2019 in Austin, Texas. Jim was born on September 16, 1935 in Wichita Falls, Texas to Russell and Sybel (Fletcher) Cochran. The Cochran's ran a wholesale magazine distribution business in the garage of their house on Pearl Street. Jim grew up helping with the family magazine business, working on weekends and summers. As much as he enjoyed helping his parents, his main pleasure at that time was playing poker with a group of friends. He graduated from Wichita Falls High School and received a BBA degree in real estate and finance from the University of Texas at Austin where he was a member of Phi Gamma Delta fraternity. While attending UT, Jim completed four years in ROTC. Lt. Cochran was assigned to Gray Air Force Base, a radar base in Killeen, Texas. He and his dad had already purchased a magazine dealership in Abilene, Texas. To oversee daily management of the business, Jim commuted to Abilene while still stationed in Killeen. Jim met UT graduate, Eleanor Wheeler, and they began a lifetime together on April 30, 1960. He continued to run the business in Abilene while teaching Eleanor methods of distribution. Their early married life in Abilene included frequent trips to Austin to enjoy Longhorn athletics. Jim always had a strong desire to live in Austin and to be a part of Austin News Agency, owned and run by his aunt, uncle, and parents. He made the decision to sell the Abilene business and work with his family in Austin. Along with running the day to day operations, he also attended wholesaler conventions where he served as President of IMWAS, the magazine distributors' association. Jim and his brother, Bill Cochran, began to invest in retail book stores, including the well-known Congress Avenue Booksellers. Finding business in Austin more rewarding, he was also able to enjoy all aspects of UT sports, not only football but also basketball and baseball. A lifetime member of the downtown Rotary, he also later joined the West Austin Rotary. Jim supported many worthwhile causes, especially the Carter Center, Planned Parenthood, and the Smithsonian. He was a faithful member of Westminster Presbyterian Church where he served as a deacon. A lover of opera, Jim listened to the Metropolitan Opera Saturday broadcasts from the time he was in college. He eventually became a sponsor of the Metropolitan Opera taking many trips to New York to enjoy live performances. His happiest moment was sitting in the box belonging to Joe Volpe, General Manager of the Met, during a performance of Pagliacci. He also supported the local Austin Lyric Opera. Jim loved Gilbert and Sullivan and went to Austin performances of their work once a year. Seeing his son Russell perform in two productions brought him great joy. After selling the wholesale business, Jim became interested in the management of the family tree farm located in Rusk County which had been in the family for three generations. By joining The Texas Forestry Association, he learned about preservation and development of the pine trees and hardwoods on the farm. Jim is survived by his wife, Eleanor; his daughter Carolyn Cochran; his son Russell Cochran and daughter-in-law, Marina De Brito; his daughter Margaret Bettinger and son-in-law Dan Bettinger; grandchildren, Antony De Brito Cochran, Hannah Bettinger and Ethan Bettinger; his brother Bill Cochran. A funeral service will be held Wednesday, January 16 at 11AM in the sanctuary of Westminster Presbyterian Church, 3208 Exposition Blvd, Austin, TX 78703. Following the service, there will be a reception in the fellowship hall of Westminster Presbyterian Church. In lieu of flowers, memorials may be sent to: Westminster Presbyterian Church, The or the Remembrances may be left at www.wcfish.com.
Published in Austin American-Statesman on Jan. 13, 2019
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