IN MEMORIAM: Paul Cochran '70

The Rev. Paul Coleman Cochran, Class of 1970, died in Lexington, Kentucky on October 14, 2016 at the age of 74. Born in Michigan December 14, 1941, to Maurice William Cochran and Ellanna Born Cochran, and raised in Rockport, Texas, he was a resident of New York City for most of his adult life, serving parishes in New York and Long Island. Cochran received his undergraduate degree at St. John’s College in Annapolis, Maryland and was deeply influenced by its unique curriculum focusing on the Great Books of Western Civilization. Upon graduation, Paul entered the Peace Corps, spending two years teaching English as a Foreign Language in Kilis in south central Turkey. Building on his undergraduate studies of the Classics, and his desire to enter the priesthood, Paul was eager to see Greece and study New Testament Greek in Athens. There, he found employment teaching English at the Hellenic American Union, where he met his wife, fellow instructor, Dr. Effie Papatzikou Cochran. Against the backdrop of the military junta that had gained control of Greece, they married and decided to return to United States, where he entered The General Theological Seminary.

He was ordained to the priesthood on December 21, 1970 following the birth of his daughter, Anastasia Ellanna Cochran. They returned to the Diocese of West Texas for his first position as a parish priest at Holy Cross Episcopal Church in San Antonio. Following the birth of his second daughter, Elizabeth (Betina) Karmela Cochran, they returned to Manhattan where Cochran began doctoral studies at General Seminary.

His exceedingly well-read and devout Episcopalian mother, Ellanna, ignited Paul’s passion for intellectual stimulation and interest in theology. His time abroad expanded his appreciation for other languages, cultures, and cuisines, and fed a lifelong passion for history and classical studies. This was sometimes a dangerous thing, and a simple question from his child about math would inevitably end up addressing ancient Greece and quoting Euclid, but his passion for learning was unbridled, and he continued to challenge himself for a lifetime.

Cochran was a gifted speaker, whether it was delivering a complex yet moving sermon or reading to his girls, as he did nearly each night before they went to bed. To know him, one could not help but feel the pleasure that critical thought and enthusiasm for learning brought to his life and soul.

Cochran is survived by his daughters, Anastasia Swope and Betina Cochran, his sons-in-law, George Swope and Argyris Leontopoulos, and his grandchildren, Mariah Leontopoulou-Cochran, Ellanna Swope, and Ari Leontopoulos-Cochran.

A service was held at the Episcopal Church of the Resurrection in Nicholasville, Kentucky on October 28, 2016.