Cynthia R. Cockerham
- January 20, 2022
Loving wife, mother, and grandmother Cynthia R. Cockerham, 75, passed away at Sentara Regional Williamsburg Medical Center in Williamsburg, VA, on January 16, 2022. She was born on June 30, 1946, in El Paso, TX. Her father, the late Edgar Blair Ross, was a lieutenant colonel in the Army, serving as the post executive officer at Fort Bliss, TX. Her mother, the late Alberta Josephine (Ambermovage) Ross, was an Army nurse from Frackville, PA.
Cynthia grew up in Tulsa, OK, and graduated from Tulsa Edison High School. She attended Randolph Macon Women’s College in Lynchburg, VA, graduated from the University of Tulsa with a BA in English literature in 1968, and did graduate work in English at the University of Pittsburgh and the University of Tulsa. She later obtained a Master of Teaching (MAT) in English education (1978) and an MS in library and information science (1980) from the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign. Cynthia worked as a reference librarian at the University of Illinois and as a medical reference librarian at the University of Alabama at Birmingham School of Medicine Lister Hill Library. However, she made a deliberate decision that her priority in life would be her family.
She married William Cockerham in Tulsa, OK, in April 1969, whom she met in a rose garden when he was walking his dog while on convalescent leave from the Army. She and Bill subsequently moved to Berkeley, California, where he earned his PhD at the University of California at Berkeley and had their first child, Geoffrey. While he pursued an academic career in medical sociology, they lived in Laramie, WY, where their son Sean was born; Urbana-Champaign, IL, where their son Scott was born; and Birmingham, AL. They also spent periods of residence in Vienna, Austria; Marburg, Germany; and Glasgow, Scotland.
Additionally, they spent an enjoyable year as a family at Carlisle Barracks, PA, when Bill was a resident student and Vice-President of the Class of 1987 at the Army War College. He retired as a Major General from the Army Reserve in 1995. She and Bill retired to Williamsburg in 2017, where Bill was affiliated with the College of William and Mary. This was one of the most pleasant periods of their entire time together, except for the isolation from family caused by the pandemic. Bill’s book, Social Causes of Health and Disease, was dedicated to her in 2021.
Cynthia had a strong religious character, sense of honesty, and determination to do right, which she passed on to her children. She was very proud of their many accomplishments, followed their activities closely, and loved them very much. She is survived by Bill, her husband of 52 years, her three sons Geoffrey Cockerham and wife Erin of Draper, UT; Sean Cockerham and wife Lilia of Ferney-Voltaire, France; Scott Cockerham and his wife April of Takoma Park, MD; and step-daughter Laura Bell and husband George of Georgetown, IN and nine grandchildren: Laurinda, Haley, Mckenzie, Quinn, Anthony, Lia, Leo, Michael, and Max.
She is additionally survived by her brother Alan Ross and his wife Neen of Tulsa, OK and nieces Amy Radtke, Leawood, KS; Kristen O’Connor and husband Jim of Tulsa, OK; Shannon Perrino and husband Nick of Naperville, IL; and nephew Mark Ross and wife Laura of Tulsa, OK; and several grandnieces, grandnephews, cousins, and friends. She will be greatly missed.
A private family funeral mass will be held Saturday, January 22, at St. Olaf’s Catholic Church in Norge, VA. Bucktrout of Williamsburg is handling the arrangements. Burial will be in Fairlawn Cemetery in Oklahoma City, OK