William Leslie Cochrane

COCHRANE, William Leslie, (Bill) age 77 of Eden Prairie, MN passed away peacefully, with his family by his side May 31, 2024.

Preceded in death by his beloved wife, Susan; and parents, Yvonne and Leslie. Survived by his brother, Patrick D. Cochrane (RaeAnn); children, Sarah Hornig, Anne Fineran (Shane), William (Sherry) and Patrick; and grandchildren, Lainey and Cate Hornig, Grace and Carrick Fineran, Camilla, Barrett, Creighton Cochrane and Rylen Bannon. Bill was more brilliant than anything else. Grounded, patient, compassionate, sound, and empathic.

He grew up in Richfield, MN attending RHS. That is where he fell in love with his bride Susan, and often referred to her as the “girl on the bus with the navy-blue coat and gold buttons”. He never looked back. Bill attended UW Stout where he earned a degree in Industrial Engineering. He often hitch hiked back home for visits. After graduation, Bill knew his draft card for Vietnam was coming. After just starting his career with Ford and much deliberation with Susan he decided to enlist. He was eventually assigned to a remote firebase known as Ripcord.

On the morning of 7/1/1970, his battalion was attacked and during the second barrage of mortar fire he was almost fatally injured with a multitude of shrapnel wounds to his body as he was tending to heavy artillery equipment he managed. Bill was awarded The Bronze Star and The Purple Heart, among other metals of valor, including a second Purple Heart from an earlier injury. Once convalescence was concluded and back in the States he bought a car, got married and reported back to his job at Ford. This all happened in a week!

Bill spent his entire career at Ford Motor Company. Retiring as a Midwest Fleet Manger. His work in heavy trucking sales took his family from Minneapolis to St. Louis and Detroit. In 1991, he brought the gang back home to the state that he loved. After retirement, he gave countless hours to the Minneapolis chapter of the Military Order of the Purple Heart and VA hospital. He helped so many other vets navigate the system and was an advocate for all military personnel. As a child his devout passion for cars was apparent. Able to identify makes and models of cars based on exhaust tones, hubcaps, and subtle body lines. There was not a car in the world he was not interested in or at least had some knowledge of that was unknown to the masses. His most prized possession was his 1966 Shelby Mustang GT350. It gave him immense pleasure and solace. Bill had the gift of gab and often told very long stories and gave elaborate opinions. This was one of his greatest gifts.

Bill was a fantastic father and grandfather. He worked very hard, long hours (often away from home on the road) to provide his children with many things’ others could not afford. In later years as a recent widow, he devoted much of his time to being as present as he could for his children and especially his grandchildren when they were very young and school aged. Bill was treasure to all – he and his worldly absence will be sorely missed by his children, grandchildren, in laws, niece, nephews, and friends. Rest in peace Dad.

Funeral Mass to be held on Wednesday, June 26, at 11 AM, with visitation one hour prior, at Pax Christi Catholic Community in Eden Prairie. Committal service with honors to be held at Ft. Snelling at 1:30 PM. Gather at assembly area #4 at 1:15 PM. Celebration of Life will be at Redstone in Eden Prairie from 2-6 PM.

For those who are unable to attend the funeral Mass in person, a livestream will be available from the https://www.paxchristi.com/ homepage. Click the green “LIVE STREAM” button. The video will be live about ten minutes prior to the Mass.

Donations can be made to the Magnus Veterans Foundation at https://magnusveteransfoundation.org/

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