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Patrick Cochran, Air Force vet, music teacher, dies at 80

Patrick J. Cochran, a retired music teacher, died

Patrick J. Cochran, a retired music teacher, died July 16, 2012 at Stony Brook University Medical Center, after suffering a pulmonary hemorrhage after suffering from pneumonia. He was 80. Newsday's obituary for Patrick J. Cochran
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Musician Patrick J. Cochran, of Setauket, was a U.S. Air Force veteran who felt morally obligated to educate others.

Cochran, a retired music teacher, died Monday at Stony Brook University Medical Center, after suffering a pulmonary hemorrhage, following a bout with pneumonia. He was 80.

"He said, 'It was a good run, and I am at peace with whatever happens,' " said his wife, the former Trudy Spinelli.

Cochran was born in Pittsburgh and raised in a Catholic orphanage there until he was 14. He earned a bachelor's degree in music in 1961 from Adelphi University in Garden City. He received a master's degree in music education from Columbia University in 1963, and another in horn performance from Stony Brook University in 1981.

At age 17, Cochran joined the Air Force and was stationed several places, including Nova Scotia and the Philippines, before being discharged in 1958. He played the French horn from the time he was 10 and through the Korean War, in the Air Force Bands Program. He spent almost eight years enlisted.

"He worked from the time he was 10 or 12 years old to pay for music lessons," his wife said. "He learned well."

Cochran met his wife at a Communion breakfast on Long Island. They married three years later in 1959.

"In my mother, my father found a family for the first time," said his daughter, Ann Becchina, of Setauket. "He adored her."

Cochran taught instrumental music for 34 years, mostly with the Sachem School District. He retired in 1995.

"He enjoyed working with the kids," Trudy Cochran said, adding that he felt teaching was his calling. "They made loud noises in the beginning, and by the end they were playing music."

At the time of his death, Cochran remained an active performer with many groups, including the Atlantic Wind Ensemble, Island Symphony Orchestra, Bay Area Symphony Orchestra and the Senior Pops Orchestra of Long Island. He also played freelance French horn for more than 50 years with the Suffolk Symphony, Concert Pops of Long Island and Huntington Community Band. He was a member of musicians union Local 802.

Cochran's musician friends are planning a concert and party in his memory on Sept. 9. Details are still being worked out, his daughter said.

A memorial service will be held Monday at 11 a.m. at Setauket Presbyterian Church. Burial will follow at Calverton National Cemetery.

In addition to his wife, Trudy, and his daughter, Ann, he is survived by two sons, Bill of Kingston, and John of Albany; and six grandchildren.

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