The Children’s Home Mourns the Loss of Retired President and CEO Bev Cochran
On July 22, 2016, retired United Methodist Children’s Home President and CEO Beverly O. Cochran, Jr. (Bev) passed away. He was in his home just a few short miles from The United Methodist Children’s Home – the place where he faithfully served as our CEO for 43 years. Bev always had a soft heart for children. When asked how he wanted to be remembered, Bev said, “Would it be different to me if I hadn’t been a street kid myself? I don’t know. I don’t think it would, but … when I’ve gone to an UMCH alumni meeting, I’ve always been proud to be with everyone there.”
“Bev’s love for the people of UMCH just oozed right out of him every time we spoke. He loved the hundreds of staffers he worked with over the years, many of whom he recruited and mentored and whose careers today remain shaped by Bev. He loved the thousands of alumni who grew up on the UMCH campus – people who now have families and careers of their own and who showed love to Bev to the very end. Now, our job is to honor Bev’s legacy by reaching evermore children and families in need and showing our love to them,” said John P. Cerniglia, Acting President & CEO of the United Methodist Children’s Home.
Bev is survived by his loving children, Pam Cochran Kirkland of Tennessee, and Barney Cochran of Ohio, along with five grandchildren. In fact, this is a hard loss for many, many people who loved Bev like a father. For many, Bev was the only true father they knew. Bev led many of his ‘UMCH kids’ into a relationship with their heavenly father. Bev gave them away in holy matrimony in the chapel on campus. Bev helped many of UMCH’s alumni through restoration through Jesus Christ. He has hundreds of children who mourn today. Please pray for Pam, Barney, and each of Bev’s children.
Bev was born in Augusta, GA on October 8, 1933. He attended Georgia Institute of Technology and Wofford College in Spartanburg, South Carolina where he received a Bachelor of Arts in Psychology and Business Administration.
Bev began his career in the Juvenile Court of Columbia, SC as a probation officer, before taking on the role of social worker at the South Carolina Industrial School for Boys in Florence, SC. In 1962, he transitioned into administrator roles at the Epworth Children’s Home, Plantation Manor Children’s Home, and finally, The United Methodist Children’s Home in 1969.
For decades, Bev set the tone and direction for The Children’s Home. There are many key milestones in the history of The United Methodist Children’s Home that were achieved under Bev’s leadership, including:
- Changing the admission policy to allow children of other faith traditions into the Home
- Changing the name to The United Methodist Children’s Home
- Signing the Civil Rights Compliance Act and welcoming children of all races into the Home
- Transitioning our philosophy from only serving children to also serving families and young adults
- Opening district offices where UMCH would be positioned to serve more people
- Disbanding campus-based ‘orphan’ group care and transitioning into a foster care ministry
- Expanding our family housing program
- Organizing dozens of peer agencies statewide to advocate for pro-children and pro-poor policies and practices.
Bev was married to Mary Jane Strauss Cochran for 47 years before she passed in May of 2004. They resided in Avondale Estates and were long-time members of Decatur First United Methodist Church.
Visitation will be Tuesday, July 26, at the United Methodist Children’s Home at 500 S. Columbia Drive, Decatur, in the Dining Hall, from 2-4 PM and 6-8 PM.
Rev. David Jones will officiate the funeral service on Wednesday, July 27 at Decatur First UMC in the sanctuary at 10 AM. Interment will follow in Augusta later that afternoon. A.S. Turner and Sons Funeral Home is facilitating all arrangements.
The family has requested that memorial gifts be made to:
The United Methodist Children’s Home
500 S. Columbia Dr.
Decatur, GA 30030
About the United Methodist Children’s Home: Faithfully serving North Georgia for 145 years as a connectional ministry of the United Methodist Church, we envision a world where every child is raised in a loving, compassionate, and nurturing home. The mission of the United Methodist Children’s Home is to restore children and families from trauma through Jesus Christ. We do this by placing children into safe and loving foster care homes; preparing young adults in Georgia’s foster care system to make positive life decisions as they transition to independent adulthood; and strengthening and preserving families by providing housing and support to prevent homelessness. Learn more at www.umchildrenshome.org.
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Featuring Bev Cochran