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Margaret Naomi Cochran

Born: 6/20/1923, Bristol, Tennessee
Death: 7/14/2020, Moab, Utah
Service: Private
Interment: Mount Hebron Cemetery Winchester, VA

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

She was born June 20, 1923, in Bristol, Tennessee, 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, West Virginia, who attended nearby Virginia Polytechnic Institute.  They married on October 7, 1944, and began their marriage of nearly sixty years in Oak Ridge, Tennessee.

Moves to Pittsburgh and Buffalo were accompanied by the births of her four children. With all four of them underfoot, she returned to school and earned her Masters in Education at the University of Buffalo.  She then embarked on a teaching career of over twenty-five 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 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 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 the Grand County Public Library, 257 East Center Street Moab, UT 84532, or to the Moab Music Festival, 58 East 300 South Moab, UT 84532.   


On behalf of Canyonlands Field Institute, I send condolences to Marge's family and friends. I remember she and Curly as active and early supporters of CFI and enjoyed several Discover Your BackYard Hikes in the late 80's with them. They were such energetic and fun people and very encouraging ....they gave much to their "retirement" community of Moab. I know that Curly's death was very hard for Marge though she made point of staying active and engaged as long as she could. What an inspiration she was at so many Moab Half Marathon/5 mile runs! I will miss her presence at my Winter Ladies Tea - Marge would often bring a new friend and be dressed "perfectly", adding class to the affair indeed. Her wit, energy and positive outlook were indeed gifts to those who knew Marge, and set an example to follow. I also extend a special thanks to Mary Moran and Dennis Silva, Marge's neighbors in Highland that kept an eye on her, got her out and provided help in many ways. Sincerely,
- Karla VanderZanden, Founding Director, CFI

Our condolences to Marge's family. She often spoke about several of you and really appreciated your being there for her. Marge was a dear person who will be missed by all of her "near neighbors" like us. Rest in peace.
- Mike and Jean Binyon

My wife Bonnie and I moved to Moab in 2002, a year before Curly died. I remember him well for his humor and wit. Over the years we climbed "Curly's Pothole" several times, always a thrill. Bonnie and I were with Marge over the Christmas holidays maybe, oh my, I lose track of the years, 10-12 years ago when we were hiking on icy winter terrain in Courthouse Wash. I literally saw Marge fall, break her hip and carried her to a safe spot nearby whence Bonnie and I hiked out the Wash to Arches Visitor Center. By the time we got the litter in and her out it was well into the night. Seems like the hip repair didn't go as well as expected. Still, we saw Marge all over town, particularly at the Moab Music Festival, for years after. I'll always miss her.Such a sweetheart. Love,
- Mike

We are very sorry for the loss of your mother and grandmother. She was an extraordinary lady. We had many outdoor adventures with her and Curly which we remember fondly. "The Beast" was part of many of them, too! If you need any help with arrangements, etc. in Moab please contact us. We'd be glad to help you. With fond memories of Marge,
- Pam & Quent

Stories of adventures with Marge and Curly will continue to be told around the gathering of their Moab Friends for a long time to come. I will miss Marge's enthusiastic desire to make soup from my turkey carcasses and will think of her weekly, when I use the cloth knapkins she handstitched for me. She will be missed! Let me know if I can be of any help with her estate like I did last year for my mother.
- Susan McDowell

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