Mike Cochran, Veteran Texas Reporter, Is Useless at 85

Mike Cochran, who lined Texas for The Related Press for almost 40 years and at one level ended up serving as a pallbearer for the presidential murderer Lee Harvey Oswald whereas reporting on his funeral, died on Tuesday. He was 85.

The previous A.P. govt John O. Lumpkin, a longtime pal, mentioned the trigger was most cancers.

In 2013, as a part of The A.P.’s protection of the 50th anniversary of President John F. Kennedy’s assassination in Dallas, Mr. Cochran wrote a first-person account of how he had come to be a pallbearer for Mr. Oswald. With no mourners current except for a number of relations, the duty of carrying his coffin fell to the reporters masking the funeral.

“I used to be among the many first they requested, my reply not simply ‘No!’ however ‘Hell no!’” he wrote. “Then Preston McGraw of United Press Worldwide stepped ahead and volunteered, and with my prime competitors for scoops accepting the responsibility, I noticed my error and joined McGraw and different reporters.”

Mr. Cochran’s reporting on the assassination continued for years. He interviewed Mr. Oswald’s widow and mom, investigated conspiracy theories and wrote anniversary tales.

On one anniversary, he recalled approaching Mr. Oswald’s widow, Marina Oswald, at her home. She instructed him that she was “now not information,” however when he talked about his function as a pallbearer, she invited him in. A number of hours later, they have been “nonetheless speaking and smoking,” he wrote.

Through the years Mr. Cochran wrote regularly about colourful Texas characters, together with Cullen Davis, an oil tycoon acquitted at trial after being accused in a taking pictures at his mansion that killed his 12-year-old stepdaughter and his estranged spouse’s boyfriend; and the flamboyant swindler Billie Sol Estes, who made thousands and thousands of {dollars} in phony fertilizer tanks.

Born in Muskogee, Okla., Mr. Cochran grew up within the West Texas city of Stamford and graduated from what’s now the College of North Texas in Denton.

He started his profession at newspapers in Denton and Abilene earlier than becoming a member of The A.P. in 1960 in Dallas and opening the company’s Fort Price bureau the subsequent yr. He left The A.P. in 1999 after which labored on the Fort Price Star-Telegram for 5 years.

He additionally wrote a number of books, together with “Texas vs. Davis” (1980), concerning the Cullen Davis homicide case


He’s survived by his spouse, Sondra; his son, John; his daughter, Kendyl Arnold; 4 grandchildren; and 7 great-grandchildren.

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