"Doug and I have been close friends since the mid-1960s," said State Rep. District 15 Paul Battles, R-Cartersville. "I've never found a more genuine, honest and godly person in my life. We've had many occasions to work together, especially as it had related to youth. When he was the principal at Cass High School, I was able to go in and do some counseling with kids. So, as I said, there is nothing or no one that I can think of that epitomized goodness more than Doug Cochran."
Known to many for his career in education, Cochran was a teacher and head football coach at Cass High School, prior to stepping into the role of principal at Cass High and Adairsville High. Afterward, he helped Dan Clark form Cartersville's Asher Realty in 1982. Since then, his work as an associate broker won him a host of accolades, some of which include the Pinnacle Award in 1992, 1999 and 2000; and the 2006 Lifetime Achievement Award from the Bartow Area Board of Realtors.
"Doug and I started the company 29 years ago. First, he was my friend," Clark said, when describing Cochran. "Certainly his character and dedication were above reproach in every aspect to his family, to his church, to this company. He was someone [who was] always willing to help everybody. The thing that I'll miss [the most] is the times we spent praying together."
Married to Janice McPherson Cochran for 47 years, he was the father of three children and grandfather of eight. Along with his professional pursuits, Cochran also was active in the community, some examples of which include being a Sunday school teacher and deacon at Cassville Baptist Church; serving on the advisory board for The Salvation Army's Cartersville Corps; supporting National Day of Prayer offerings; and organizing a Cartersville Tea Party event nearly one year ago. In 2009, the Bartow County Board of Education paid tribute to Cochran by unanimously naming the new football stadium at Cass High School in his honor.
"Doug was very involved in the community all his life, either through school, education or community involvements," Clark said. "[He was a] very strong, Christian man, [who] taught Sunday school [at] his church, Cassville Baptist.
"He never said a bad word about anybody. As far as business, everybody in the real estate community, even though we're all in competition, they all liked Doug. He was just that kind of person. He always would encourage everybody, no matter who they were [or] what they were, and always wanted them to succeed in whatever they were doing."
Echoing Clark's remarks, Excel Christian Academy School Administrator and Interim Principal Davis Nelson also cherished Cochran's friendship and was impressed by his even-keeled nature and ability to communicate with others.
"He's just a tremendous person," said Nelson, former superintendent of Bartow County Schools. "Years ago when I first ran for school superintendent, he stepped up to the plate and was such a tremendous support base to me. The [Cochran] family is such a loving, caring family. He's been so involved in the community, but he's one of those people that is a quiet person but when he speaks people listen to him because they know he's thought out what he was going to say and that it's coming with love and compassion.
"He was always just full of energy and life. I think that's the tragedy of this whole thing is that every time you saw him he had a smile on his face. He was healthy and energetic. He was certainly above all a man of God. He didn't have to tell you that. He lived that life. He had respect, dignity. He and his wife were just such a vital part of not only the Cassville community but Cartersville and Bartow County as a whole."
Cochran's family will receive friends today from 5 to 9 p.m. at Cassville Baptist Church. On Saturday at 2 p.m., a celebration service will be held at Cassville Baptist, with interment following at Sunset Memory Gardens. In lieu of flowers, donations can be made to Cassville Baptist's building fund -- Cassville Baptist Church, P.O. Box 568, Cassville, GA 30123. Owen Funeral Home in Cartersville is in charge of the arrangements.