Dick Cochran, 91, longtime Half Moon Bay resident, died on Sunday, Sept. 12, 2021, in Chico, Calif. Christened Walter Richard Cochran, he was born in Wichita, Kansas, on Nov. 2, 1929, to Ted and Hazel Cochran. He is survived by his daughter, Kerry Cochran (husband Ken), son Kirk Cochran (wife Marilyn), grandson Ethan Cochran (wife Adria) and great-grandson Jarrod William Cochran, along with numerous nieces and nephews. He is preceded in death by his wife, Ann Cochran, sister Mary Louise Lyon, and grandson Jarrod Sean Cochran.
Dick’s childhood was influenced by his father’s career, primarily with United Airlines, moving from Wichita, Kansas, to Cheyenne, Wyo., and finally to Menlo Park, Calif. Dick graduated from Sequoia High School and furthered his education at the California Maritime Academy, graduating in 1950 with a Bachelor of Science in engineering. From 1950 to 1953, he served in the U.S. Navy as a Lt.j.g. during the Korean War. Upon returning stateside, Dick met Ann Miller and they married in 1952 in Menlo Park. He joined Westinghouse Electric Corp. in 1958, retiring in 1991. Dick held various positions from engineering to program and proposal management including: power generation equipment for both marine and power applications, defense missile launching, radar and steel mill projects, hydroelectric dams and nuclear power plants. His career moved his family cross-country numerous times and internationally to Turkey and northeastern Canada.
Upon returning from Turkey, Dick took a senior position at Westinghouse Sunnyvale and settled in Half Moon Bay close to his parents. Many Coastsiders will remember the Cochran residence on Meyn Road, south of town, built by Dick’s parents in 1950s. Dick and Ann lived there for over 40 years, since 1971. He and Ann loved Half Moon Bay and were active in the community, establishing many friendships. Dick served on the California State Parks and Beaches Committee for San Mateo County as both a member and chair; was a founder and past president of the Año Nuevo Interpretive Association; and a member of the San Mateo County Fair Livestock Committee for many years. He and Ann were longtime members of the Community United Methodist Church and loved their church family. They funded the restoration and donation of an old pump organ rescued by his parents many years prior when a previous pastor chose to discard it. That organ is now in the chapel/original church on Miramontes Street.
Dick took great pride in being a California Maritime Academy graduate and was an active alumnus. He credited his CMA education for igniting his passion for travel. He was a member of the Alumni Association Board of Directors, Alumni Association Secretary 1995-1999, Alumni Association President 2000-2004, and Distinguished Alumnus 2011 Graduation. Additionally, he was instrumental in instituting an endowed scholarship for the CMA Class of 1950. He and Ann also donated a sizable gift annuity in their names to CMA to benefit that institution.
During his retirement, Dick and Ann enjoyed traveling, both domestically and internationally, visiting many national parks in the west as well as trips to Europe, Turkey, Southeast Asia, Hawaii, Fiji, Alaska, the Holy Land and Japan to name a few.
After Ann’s death, Dick left the coast to live in Arizona with his daughter, Kerry, and her husband, Ken. They all returned to California, as Dick missed his ‘home state,’ and settled in Butte County. Dick was a survivor of the 2018 Camp Fire in Paradise and lived his remaining years in Chico. He often mentioned that Half Moon Bay was the most favorite place he had lived. He truly missed the coast and his community.