Velma Ione (Johnson) Cochran
Born May 31, 1930 in Almena, Ks, the daughter of Roy and Maude Johnson passed away peacefully surrounded by family on October 13, 2021. Her children often recall her speaking of living in a boxcar, which was true for about 9 years of her early childhood before her family moved to their farm. She attended rural schools as well as then Almena Rural High School in Almena. She talked of walking miles uphill both ways in snow storms. Even as times were tougher and she recalled many things about living in “the dirty thirties” the memories shared through the years seemed to remain some of her fondest. Velma was a lifetime Kansas resident, having lived in Almena, Norton, Norcatur, Logan and moving to Syracuse in 1976. Returning to Almena for Class Reunions and family gatherings were dear to her heart and brought her great joy. Velma was a member of the Daughters of the American Revolution (DAR) Byrd Prewitt Chapter, Ulysses, KS. Velma and her late husband Lowell “Obie” are recognized as charter members of the Valley Hope 1967 Circle.
Velma married Wayne Elson, and together they had two daughters Linda and Donna. They divorced within a few years. Velma married Obie Cochran in 1959. They enjoyed 52 years together before his passing in 2011. Together they had three children, Marie, Ray and Susan.
Throughout Velma’s life she worked as a homemaker, housekeeper, and a custodian for the Syracuse school which she enjoyed tremendously because it allowed her to be with kids. Her last job was with Hamilton County Hospital as the Activities Director, again an enjoyment for her helping the elderly and sharing her talents. Velma was fantastic with her hands making beautiful handmade items from, dollies, afghans and needlepoint items. Many of her family members have things Velma made them that they cherish. She loved spending time with family and enjoyed crocheting, crafts and extensive family genealogy in her earlier years.
Velma was one awesome Grandma to Clay, Marisa and JD. If they wanted to play with PlayDoh on her carpets, she’d let them, she didn’t tell them no much, that was not her role as a grandma. They could barely do anything wrong in her eyes. Then as those three grands became adults, their Grandma Velma was pretty perfect in their eyes!
Her children knew their mom to be a giver even when she had little herself, but whatever she did have she was willing to share. They all knew it, but it took them years to realize the depth of her selflessness, they each came to that understanding and only hope they always think in the mindset their mom had to be a better giver.
Velma was preceded in death by her husband, Obie Cochran, a daughter, Donna Elson, her parents, Roy and Maude Johnson, and a brother Clifford Johnson. She is survived by, daughter Linda (Ken) Burton of Great Bend, KS, daughter Marie Cochran of Syracuse, KS, son Ray Cochran of Amarillo, TX, daughter Susan (Thad) Howell of Syracuse, KS, grandson Clay Burton of Parsons, KS, granddaughter Marisa (Joe) Englert of Syracuse, KS, grandson JD (Cetra) Howell of Wichita, KS, great-grandson’s Landon and Owen Englert of Syracuse, KS, sister Vera Schra of McPherson, KS, brother Jim (Barb) Johnson of Aurora, NE, sister-in-law Mona Cochran, Bentonville, AR, along with numerous other relatives.
Funeral service will be held Monday, October 18, 2021 at 10:00 AM at the First United Methodist Church of Syracuse. Burial will immediately follow at the Syracuse cemetery.
In lieu of flowers the family requests memorials be given to the Velma Cochran Memorial funds. The family’s intent at this time is for those funds to be given to an organization for the benefit of students arts and crafts pending approval of the organization.
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