21 August 2012

May 1, 1919 – July 3, 2012

I had the privilege and honor of speaking at the funeral service for sister Frances Cochran on Friday, July 6, 2012 in the South Commerce church of Christ building in Summerville, Georgia, my home congregation. Sister Cochran was 93 years old at her passing on Tuesday, July 3. Her husband, Charles, died some 36 years earlier. They had one daughter, Martha Cochran (Ken) Parker. They were dear friends of my family. Sister Cochran had known me for some 70 years.

In December of 1941, my family moved from the community of Welcome Hill (which was located a few miles northwest of Trion) to Summerville, the county seat of Chattooga County, Georgia. There was a small group of Christians meeting in a rented hall downtown and near the courthouse. It was a short time later that the Cochran and Elliott families met. In 1945, a new building was constructed on South Commerce Street and the church began meeting there. There were several Christian men and women who influenced me as a young boy but none more than Charles and Frances Cochran and Julius and Thelma Sprayberry. I am sure that the Bible class material used in those early years would have consisted of the small cards published by the Gospel Advocate Company and later the quarterlies that were published by the same company.

Charles and Frances were servants in the truest sense of the word. They carried people to their respective doctors; provided transportation for members to the various assemblies of the church; delivered meals to those in need and helped others in ways too numerous to mention. Sister Frances continued to minister to members and friends after the death of her beloved husband. She took care of
loved ones in her home as they aged and/or needed constant care. Even when she was physically unable to aid others, she telephoned to check on various ones.

The strength of a church is made of up of individual Christians who are committed to live righteously, serve others and to worship God. This, sister Cochran did all of her life in Christ. Everyone who knew her would testify to this truth. She was ‘proud’ of the young men who became preachers from the South Commerce Street congregation. Men like Lawrence Garmon (deceased) James Watkins, Tommy Broome and yours truly. She always would tell me when she read an article of mine that had been published in the Gospel Advocate or other brotherhood publications. She desired that I come by to see her when I was in the area. She always was cheerful even in spite of her ailments and would inquire as to how Virginia, the children and grandchildren were doing. I would often visit with her via the telephone.

I believe what John wrote in Revelation 14:13 would summarize her life and death: “Then I heard a voice from heaven saying to me, “Write: ‘Blessed are the dead who die in the Lord from now on.’” “Yes,” says the Spirit, “that they may rest from their labors, and their works follow them.” She, like Paul could say: “I have fought the good fight, I have finished the race, I have kept the faith. Finally, there is laid up for me the crown of righteousness, which the Lord, the righteous judge will give to me on that Day, and not to me only but also to all who have loved His appearing” (2 Timothy 4:7, 8).