High school sweethearts celebrate platinum anniversary, 70 years of marriage

August 7, 2012

By Christina Corrales-Toy

Lorraine and Bud Cochran enjoy summer from the wicker patio swing at their home near Issaquah High School.
By Greg Farrar

Bud Cochran used to walk more than a mile to see his sweetheart Lorraine back when they were students at Puyallup High School in the late 1930s. With no car and a girlfriend that lived on the opposite side of town, the trek became a familiar path for the love-struck Bud.

“It didn’t seem far at all,” he said. “I was just smitten.”

Seven decades later, the two longtime Issaquah residents are still together, having celebrated their 70th wedding anniversary May 2. Sitting in their cozy ranch-style home situated next to Issaquah High School, Bud, 90, and Lorraine, 88, fondly reminisced about their eventful 70 years together.

Accept things, have faith

The Cochrans married in 1942, just after graduation. The newlyweds didn’t have much time to get comfortable as Bud joined the Army soon after. He spent time stationed in New Guinea, but luckily, he didn’t get in on any of the fighting. Still, the time away from Lorraine was difficult.

At home, Lorraine worked, saved money, wrote letters and sent care packages to Bud when she could.

“It was hard but a lot of women were in the same boat,” Lorraine said of being away from Bud. “You just accept it and have faith that things will be OK.”

After four years in the Army, nearly two of which were spent away, Bud returned home. With assistance from the GI Bill, he attended a trade school to learn about watch repair. It was a 24-month program, but it took him only 18 months to complete. Bud had found his passion.

Long hours

That passion that would ultimately relocate the growing family to Issaquah in 1959, when the Cochrans purchased a jewelry store on Front Street. With three young children and a fourth on the way, it was quite the adjustment as the couple worked to maintain the store.

Bud would spend hours hunched over his workstation, honing his watch repair skills at the shop. He worked late nights, consumed with the craft to the point where it affected his health. Lorraine, who mostly stayed home with the children, the youngest of which was born with developmental disabilities, was concerned and frustrated with Bud’s long hours.

“I got a little impatient with Bud because he was working so late,” Lorraine said.

After 10 years of ownership, the Cochrans sold the jewelry store.

“I really like watch repair, but that wasn’t where the money was,” Bud said.

By then, the Cochrans had grown quite fond of Issaquah. The family had no plans to leave even after the store sold.

“Issaquah was just a safe, little town and a good place to raise our four kids, too,” Lorraine said.

Not always easy

Once the store was sold, Bud and Lorraine worked for the Issaquah School District for several years. Lorraine worked part time at a school cafeteria, while Bud worked as a groundskeeper and custodian for 13 years, until he retired in 1984.

Over seven decades of marriage, it wasn’t always easy. The two struggled with the jewelry shop and Bud’s long hours. They were also faced with the difficult task of saying goodbye to their youngest child Mary Kaye, who died on the couple’s 65th anniversary in 2007. Through the rough times, the Cochrans turned to their faith.

“I think you have to have the Lord in your life,” Lorraine said. “You must have faith and kind of turn it over to him once in awhile.”

Good parents helped

Nowadays, the couple stays busy playing cards, watching Seattle Mariners baseball games and spending time with their family that includes five grandchildren and five great-grandchildren. They also enjoy eating out at their favorite restaurants including IHOP and August Moon Chinese Restaurant in Sammamish.

After so many years of marriage, Bud gave much of the credit to Lorraine’s parents for raising such an admirable daughter.

“I tell her sometimes that I wish her folks could come back and see what a good job they’ve done with Lorraine,” he said. “I think they’d be really proud.”

Lorraine was quick to mention that Bud’s mother didn’t do too bad herself. In fact, Lorraine inherited some of her caring qualities.

“I used to say a lot that Bud’s mother spoiled his father terribly and then I said, ‘What am I talking about? I’ve done the same to him,’” Lorraine said as she pointed at Bud, who couldn’t help but smile.

Patience and respect

What’s the secret to a successful 70-year marriage? Well, the Cochrans didn’t hesitate for a second when they said that patience and respect are the keys.

“I always tell people Bud is very patient. I’m a little bossy, but he is very patient,” Lorraine said. “You just have to remember all the time the vows you take, and love each other and always have respect.”

Bud is just grateful that he has a companion for life in Lorraine.

“I can’t even think of life without her, we’ve been together for so long,” Bud said. “She’s just a good buddy, a really neat pal.”

Lorraine loves Bud’s good heart and kind personality, but she’s quick to playfully point out his one flaw.

“He is a very kind person. He wouldn’t say anything bad about anybody,” she said. “The only thing is, he doesn’t cook.”

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