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Honored as a Harford Living Treasure, Thomas Cochran is 'still going' at 92

Honored as a Harford Living Treasure, Thomas Cochran is 'still going' at 92
Thomas Francis Cochran of Monkton was honored Tuesday as a Harford Living Treasure. (Erika Butler/The Aegis)

Thomas Francis Cochran, who ran two successful cattle farms in Harford County, was honored this week as a Harford Living Treasure.

Often, when Cochran, 92, is asked if he’s lived in Harford County his whole life, he answers “Not yet!”

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“I still can say that, not yet,” Cochran said during Tuesday night’s Harford County Council meeting when he received the living treasure proclamation. “It’s been [almost] 93 years, I’m still going.”

Cochran was born in 1926 on his grandparents’ Harford Hill Farm on Pocock Road near the intersection of Ebenezer Road.

One of eight children, Cochran and his late wife, Mary Jane Leopold, raised eight children, according to the Living Treasure nomination from one of his daughters, Jane Cochran Lanahan.

As a child, Cochran attended the one-room Taylor School that was a mile away from his home and where his mother, Julia Agnes Lynch Cochran, taught before getting married. He left Taylor School and spent a year at St. Margaret Catholic School before attending Bel Air High School. Cochran never graduated, but obtained his GED at the age of 69.

Cochran enlisted in the Navy in 1943 in support of World War II, but the weekend before he was to leave for duty he broke his neck while swimming and spent more than 70 days in the hospital.

Unable to enter the service, he started working at the Copper Co. making piston rings for engines in P-51s.

Thomas Francis Cochran of Monkton was honored Tuesday as a Harford Living Treasure.
Thomas Francis Cochran of Monkton was honored Tuesday as a Harford Living Treasure. (Erika Butler/The Aegis / Baltimore Sun)

He later worked for Baltimore National Bank, where he met his wife, whom he married in 1947. Cochran lived in Baltimore during the week, but was home on the weekends — to wash clothes Saturday and attend the family dinner on Sunday, according to the nomination.

After the bank, Cochran became farm manager of Harford Hill Farm, where he and his wife raised their children, who were involved in 4-H.

His children helped Cochran celebrate his 90th birthday during a trip to Alaska, his daughter wrote.

By 1947, Harford Hill Farm, then owned by Eric and Sylvia Brewster, had grown to 300 acres that Cochran was managing. The Brewsters bought the 124-acre Slade farm on Schuster Road and the Cochrans moved there to manage that farm as well. Between the two, Cochran raised 80 head of cattle and several bulls.

His family came first, however, his daughter wrote. He took many of them to 4-H meetings and took animals to the Harford and Maryland fairs to be shown and sold. He also taught them to ice skate on the farm pond in the winter and swim in the summer.

The Cochrans moved into a condo in Bel Air after living on Pocock Road for 40 years, but Mary Jane died a year later. Never really happy there, his youngest son bought the Patterson Farm on Jarrettsville Pike.

“Francis moved to the in-law house, and it is hoped that he will be able to end his days there on the farm, where his life will have come full circle only one mile from where he was born,” Lanahan wrote.

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