Margaret Cochran

Margaret Naomi Cochran, age 97, of Moab, Utah, died Tuesday, July 14, 2020.

Born June 20, 1923, in Bristol, Tennessee, she was the third of four children of the Reverend Edwin Bittle Smith and Margaret Henderson Smith.

Her father’s work as a Lutheran minister took the family to Botetourt County, Virginia, and later to Winchester, Virginia, where Marge graduated from Handley High School. Four years of college at Randolph-Macon Women’s College in Lynchburg, Virginia [now Randolph College], brought life-long friendships and academic achievements. Throughout her life, she remained a loyal, reunion-attending alumnae.

During college, she met and was courted by her older brother’s college roommate, John (Curly) Cochran, an electrical engineering student from Marlinton, who attended nearby Virginia Polytechnic Institute. They married on October 7, 1944, and began their marriage of nearly 60 years in Oak Ridge, Tennessee.

Moves to Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, and Buffalo, New York, were accompanied by the births of her four children. With all four of them underfoot, she returned to school and earned her Master’s in Education at the University of Buffalo. She then embarked on a teaching career of more than 25 years, getting certified in New York, Pennsylvania, Nevada and Maryland, with a specialty in reading skills and a preference for teaching fourth grade. Her teaching colleagues praised her lesson plans and classroom bulletin boards as creative, educationally sound and always precisely planned and executed.

In 1966, a move to Las Vegas, Nevada, and Curly’s embrace of long-distance running sparked her own running career that lasted throughout their time in Severna Park, Maryland, and well into retirement in Moab, Utah, beginning in 1984. Curly and Marge thrived together in Moab for two decades of hiking, running, backpacking, camping, rafting and joining in social events: post-race parties featuring the traveling hot tub, as well as elaborate dinners with fellow members of the Thinking and Eating Society. After Curly’s death in 2003, Marge stayed on in Moab, enjoying friends and neighbors and hosting family members who shared her love of the Moab landscape that surrounded her. She continued her volunteer work, including service on the Southeast Utah Health District Board.

She is survived by her four children: Shara McNeil, of Milton, Washington; Edwin Cochran, of Grinnell, Iowa; Mark Cochran, of Tucson, Arizona; and Rebecca Cochran, of Oakwood, Ohio. She is also survived by two generations of men: her five grandsons, Matthew, Brian and Daniel Cochran, Tyler and Lincoln Guthrie; and, her great-grandson, Kainoa Cochran.

Interment will be at Mount Hebron Cemetery in Winchester, Virginia. In keeping with her wishes, no services will be held.
Donations in Marge’s memory may be made to Grand County Public Library, 257 East Center Street Moab, UT 84532, or to the Moab Music Festival, 58 East 300 South Moab, UT 84532.

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