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Cecil Cochran

Apr 24th, 1937 - Jan 18th, 2024

Celebration of Life: 6:30 p.m. on Friday, March 8, 2024, at Christ’s Church, Flora


      Cecil Eugene Cochran, age 86, of Louisville, passed away peacefully at his home on Thursday afternoon, January 18, 2024.

      Cecil was born on April 24, 1937, in Flora, the son of Charles William and Dolores Lillian (Bible) Cochran of Louisville.  He grew up on the family farm helping deliver Prairie Farms milk as a child.  He was raised in a Christian household and was one of the very first campers at Oil Belt.

      After graduating from North Clay High School, he attended Lincoln Bible Institute, where he proposed to fellow student, Wanda Lou Thomason.  They were married on June 4, 1958, and were blessed to celebrate 61 years of marriage before Lou’s passing.  To this union, three children were born.

      Cecil served as minister at Brown, Lovell’s Grove, Little Prairie, Lakeview, and North Harter Christian Churches.  Cecil and Lou started Lakeview church in House Springs, Missouri in the early 60’s.  During their time in the St. Louis area, Cecil received his master’s degree in education, and a minor in history and political science at Washington University, while teaching history and civics full time at a local high school and preaching and raising a family.  He personally witnessed the joining of the St. Louis Arch during that era.

      In 1968, Cecil and family returned to Clay County, where Cecil was the minister at North Harter, and principal, and 7th and 8th grade teacher in Iola.  When the small schools consolidated in 1971, he took the position of grade school principal of Clay City school district and remained there until the early nineties when he and Lou, who was teaching at Noble, retired and built a home in Louisville on the homestead of Cecil’s maternal grandfather and namesake, Cecil Bible.  He then engaged in farming full time, while still officiating many marriages and funerals.  He maintained a few cattle up until August of 2022 and performed his last marriage for his grandson on October 4, 2023.  His love for God, His Savior, family, and farming was lifelong.

      Not only was Cecil a preacher, farmer, and educator, he was a strong Democrat and community leader, serving the Clay County area on the Sheriff Merit Commission since the 70’s, up until his death.  He was a member of the North Clay School Board for 12 years, the Clay County Farm Service Agency for 9 years, served as elder and taught Sunday School in many area churches.  He was most recently a member of Christ Church in Flora.

      Cecil is survived by his oldest daughter Tammy Gentry, of Louisville, and her children, Tara Ratcliff, Nathan (Rachel) Ratcliff of Lexington, Kentucky, and Ronnie Gentry of Mt. Vernon.  He is also survived by his youngest daughter, Ronda Cochran of Effingham, and her daughter and grandsons, Alexandra, Paxton, and Kingston Brown, all of Virginia Beach, Virginia.  His sister, Sue (Jim) Courson of Kinmundy, sisters-in-law: Vickie (Gene) Porter and Gwen Thomason of Wayne City, two cousins, many nephews, nieces, great-nephews, and great-nieces, friends, neighbors, and church family also mourn his passing.

      He was preceded in death by both of his parents in 1996, his beloved only son Chad, in 1999, and his wife Lou in 2020, who he proudly referred to as his “Harley Babe” in their latter years.  Cecil and Lou enjoyed many trips on their Harley Davidson trike including a very memorable trip to Kittery, Maine, which took them through the streets of Boston and New York City.  Their “wind therapy” was the turning point for them enjoying life again after the loss of their son.

      A Celebration of Cecil Cochran’s life and legacy will be held at 6:30 p.m. on Friday, March 8, 2024, at Christ’s Church, 200 N. Olive Rd., Flora, Illinois 62839.  In lieu of flowers, remembrance donations are preferred to Clay County Hospice, and these will be accepted through Frank & Bright Funeral Home, 500 N. Main St., Flora, Illinois 62839.  A free will offering for the benefit of Clay County Hospice will also be taken during the time of service for those who wish to attend and contribute.  To share a condolence or memory, visit:


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Nancy Johnson

January 26th

Sorry for your loss. Prayers and love to all.

Barbara & Henry Gill

January 26th

I was sad to learn of Cecil’s passing. He was the young minister when I attended Brown Church back in the 1950’s. We have so many fond memories of those times. He will certainly be missed by all who knew him. Our sympathy to his family at this difficult time..

Susan vaughn

January 26th

So sad to hear this. Cecil was the principal at Clay city grade school when my kids were there and when I helped get PTA started in school he was very skeptical but in time we worked together and it was very successful. I enjoyed working with him he was a very good man. A great principal.

Andrea Frohning

January 26th

A wonderful man who loved God, his family, his students, community and country. What a wonderful Principal and outstanding history teacher. Sending love and prayers to you all.

Alan and Norma Buck

January 26th

Sympathy is extended to The Family , Friends and Community. A Solid Citizen who served Clay County long and well has passed.

Schiela Johnson Wilson

January 26th

He was a Great Man had him as My Principal at Clay City Grade School .

David & Gena Eade

January 26th

Cecil was a great man of his faith plus a great friend to all who knew him. I have the upmost respect for him. We feel fortunate to have known him .

Patty Neff

January 26th

Cecil was a credit to humanity and one of the most earnest Christian men I ever knew. What a privilege to have known him! Heartfelt thoughts to you all. I'm sure his words will be with you often as they've been with me.

Cheryl Brian

January 26th

So sorry to hear of Cecil's passing. I have known him and Lue for many years through Christ's Church-Effingham Campus, though he also told me he knew and grew up with my Mom, Shirley Bailey Kincaid; and that His Dad and my Grandad, Pete Bailey were good friends. RIP Cecil, give Lou and Mom a hug for me. You will be missed.

Kristin Hale

January 27th

Cecil was so much more than just a principal. He genuinely cared for people and I'm lucky to have known him in my lifetime. Truly inspirational to us all. He will be missed. Much love and comfort to all family and friends.

Rod Franklin

January 27th

Betty Apple

January 28th

My deepest sympathy to the family and granddaughter, Tara. I felt I knew Mr. Cochran just in conversation with Tara.

January 29th

You will be missed old friend! Bill & Carolyn Holeman

Tami Craig Schilling

January 30th

Mr Cochran had a significant impact on my life as a student and far beyond. He showed us all how to act, care, smile, love, believe and live … and he did it all with full commitment and zest. And being in the same class as Chad, I was fortunate to spend even more time with him through the years. He lives on in so many of us Clay City kids and we are better for it.

Monty and Jody Aldrich

March 7th

I've known Cecil for a long time, but got to know him much better when he served on the school board. He became a friend and was a huge support for us during difficult times. I've never seen a true love so strong as he had for Lou. He continued to reach out after retirement and relocation and he has helped us tremendously. Condolences to this family. They've been through more than most.

Eric, Jami, Chloe and Colin Lewis

March 8th

Cecil was a wonderful man and I will miss him so much. I have great memories of him and his time on the school board at North Clay. I have a lot of admiration and respect for him. Sending prayers to his family during this time.



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Frank & Bright Funeral Home
and Cremation Services

500 North Main Street
Flora, Illinois 62839

Phone : (618) 662-2141
Fax: (618) 662-4600
Email: [email protected]

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