Ex-Senate Staff Director Bill Cochrane Dies

Posted January 14, 2005 at 5:22pm

Following several years of declining health, Bill Cochrane, former staff director and senior adviser of the Senate Rules Committee, died Dec. 28 at Asbury Care Center in Charlotte, N.C. He was 87.

A native of North Carolina, Cochrane was born March 6, 1917. He went to the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, where he earned a bachelor’s degree in journalism in 1939 and a law degree in 1941. Cochrane then joined the Navy and served during World War II, after which he went into the reserves. Five years later, he received an advanced law degree from Yale University.

Cochrane began his time on Capitol Hill in 1954 as executive secretary and legal counsel to then-Sen. Kerr Scott (D-N.C.). In 1957, Cochrane served as administrative assistant to then-Sen. Everett Jordan (D-N.C.) until 1972, when he was appointed staff director of the Senate Rules Committee. He remained with the committee in some capacity until 1994, and was named an honorary historical consultant to the Library of Congress the following year.

In 1979, Cochrane was honored for his public service with the Roll Call Congressional Staff Award.

Cochrane is survived by his wife, Shirley, two sons and three nieces. A graveside service and reception were held Jan. 15 for friends and family. Memorial donations can be made to the William McWhorter Cochrane Scholarship Fund, University of North Carolina School of Law, cb#3380 Van-Hecke Wettach Hall, Chapel Hill, N.C. 27599.

— Jennifer Lash