Max Wika CochraneJuly 4, 1935 ~ April 10, 2017 (age 81)
Max Wika Cochrane
July 4, 1935 - April 10, 2017
On April 10th, 2017 Max Wika Cochrane, 81, passed from the arms of his loving family to the arms of his loving God after a brief struggle with cancer. In death, as in life, Max was surrounded by Margaret, his loving wife, and his entire family.
Max was born July 4, 1935 at his family farmhouse in Mt. Pleasant Township, South Dakota, the third of five children born to Ralph and Mildred Cochrane. “Mickey”, as he was known then, spent his childhood mainly in the Clark County area of South Dakota but graduated in 1953 from Central High School in Montevideo, Minnesota after moving there his senior year. Max was a good athlete, playing basketball, baseball, seven man football and was a member of the wrestling team. One of his favorite childhood stories was about the day that he pitched nine innings of baseball after a full day in the fields bailing hay. Growing up, Max also sang in the Lutheran Choir and played the guitar. With his voice, his guitar and sense of humor, he touched many lives and was always quick to create a song for any occasion. Of all his pursuits, Max’s favorite pastimes were hunting and fishing in the fields and streams near his childhood home. He was an avid outdoorsman. In fact, his teachers had a hard time keeping him indoors.
After high school, Max joined the Marines where he served his country from 1953-1956 in Korea as the Sergeant Instructor at the rifle range. In 1958, Max married the love of his life, Margaret O’Neil at St. Michael’s Catholic Church in Clark, S.D. They would remain sweethearts holding hands for the rest of their 58 years together. Max attended South Dakota State University in Brookings on the GI Bill. In 1961, with his first daughter in his arms, Max received a Bachelor of Science Degree in Civil Engineering. Max and Margaret later moved with their young family of three girls to Riggins, Idaho, Grangeville, Idaho and Missoula, Montana while Max worked for the US Forest Service as a Civil Engineer. In 1969, the family moved to Corvallis, Oregon where Max received his Master’s Degree in Civil Engineering at Oregon State University in 1971. He worked for the Environmental Protection Agency from 1971-1976 in the Pacific Northwest Water Laboratory. During that time, Max and Margaret had a son to complete their family of six.
Max served the local area through several different jobs: a private Engineering firm in Albany, the US Forest Service in Corvallis, the City of Adair Village and the OSU Facility Services where he retired in 1997. Over the years, he worked on many projects that continue to have relevance today. He helped to set up and, for over 20 years, maintain the purity of the water system for the entire Colorado Lake community where the family lived. When the Forest Service needed a new well on Mary’s Peak, Max managed to combine his knowledge of the outdoors with his civil engineering skills to track down and tap a natural spring on the mountain. He loved to tell the story about wading through the thick cloud of horseflies and the overgrown brush to finally find the water source. The structural renovation of the light house keeper’s home at Heceta Head was Max’s most visible achievement. He loved the coast and especially enjoyed visiting this iconic lighthouse with his family after the renovation.
Max’s love for the outdoors never waned throughout his life. There are few streams, lakes or rivers in Oregon that he didn’t fish during his free time. He taught all his kids to fish and even connected their kite strings to fishing poles when they were young. Only a creative thinker like Max could have combined fishing poles and kites in that way and that was just one of many of his unpatented inventions! After his retirement, he took up gold panning, first with a pan and later with a dredge. It never amounted to much more than a good time in the great outdoors which was just fine for Max.
Of all his roles, being a husband and father were the most important to Max. He was always there for his family, whether it was cheering on his children at their sporting events or giving sage life advice. His unconditional love, discipline, sense of humor, loyalty, creativity and life lessons will live on through all who were so blessed to have known him.
Max is survived by his wife, Margaret Cochrane of Albany, OR; three daughters, Cathy Heath (Tom) of Corvallis, OR, Julie Cope (Tom) of Albany, OR, Teresa Post (Ken) of Burlingame, CA; son Dan Cochrane (Jennifer) of Bend, OR; seven grandchildren; his siblings Clarine Johnson, Ralph “Jr” Cochrane and David Cochrane.
Max was preceded in death by his parents Ralph and Mildred Cochrane and his sister Darlene DeVore.
The family would like to thank the caregivers at Lydia’s House in the Mennonite Village for all their loving care of and devotion to our father. The family is also grateful to Samaritan Evergreen Hospice for their respect and care for our father during his final days.
The family will have a private burial ceremony.
AAsum-Dufour Funeral Home is handling the arrangements. To send condolences visit (www.aasum-dufour.com).