Margaret Naomi Cochran of Moab died on July 14, 2020, at the age of 97. She was born on June 20, 1923, in Bristol, Tennessee, as 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 the city of Winchester, where Marge graduated from Handley High School. Four years of college at Randolph-Macon Women’s College (now Randolph College) in Lynchburg brought life-long friendships and academic achievements. Throughout her life, Marge remained a loyal, reunion-attending alumna.
During college, Marge met and was courted by her older brother’s college roommate, John (Curly) Cochran, an electrical engineering student from Marlinton, West Virginia. They married on October 7, 1944, and began their marriage of nearly sixty years in Oak Ridge, Tennessee.
The couple’s moves to Pittsburgh and Buffalo were accompanied by the births of her four children. With all four of them underfoot, Marge returned to school and earned her master’s degree in education from the University of Buffalo. She then embarked on a teaching career of over 25 years, getting certified in New York, Pennsylvania, Nevada, and Maryland. Marge had 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, Curly’s embrace of long-distance running sparked her own running career that lasted throughout their time living in Las Vegas, living in Maryland, and well into retirement in Moab 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 and Tyler and Lincoln Guthrie; and her great-grandson, Kainoa Cochran.
At Margaret’s request cremation has taken place and 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 the Grand County Public Library (257 East Center Street, Moab, UT 84532) or to the Moab Music Festival (58 E. 300 South, Moab, UT 84532). You may send condolences to the family at www.SpanishValleyMortuary.com.