Beaumont man celebrates 100th birthday

Dean Cochran, a 20-year resident of Beaumont, celebrated his 100th birthday in March at the Morongo Golf Club in Beaumont, with 120 family members, friends, Elks Lodge members and former co-workers attending.

He was born March 10, 1923, in Oklahoma City, Okla., to Charles and Rachael Cochran. He had one brother and two sisters, and his father owned a Ford dealership. The family moved to Miami, Ariz., in 1930, and Dean joined the U.S. Army when he was 17.

Dean Cochran of Beaumont celebrated his 100th birthday in March 2023. (Photo by Dottie Cochran)
Dean Cochran of Beaumont celebrated his 100th birthday in March 2023. (Photo by Dottie Cochran)

While serving in the Philippines during World War II, he was wounded on his 20th birthday and received a Purple Heart and Silver Star, according to a brief biography provided by his family.

After his military service, he attended the University of Southern California and, while he was still in college, he married Audrey Compton in 1946 in Maricopa, Ariz.

After graduation, they moved to Washington, D.C., where he worked at the Pentagon as a systems analyst. In 1956 they moved back to California, where he worked for Northrop (now Northrop Grumman) and the Aerospace Corp. Dean and Audrey divorced in 1979.

While at Northrop, Dean met Dottie Johnson, and they married in 1983 in Torrance.

After Dean and Dottie retired from Northrop in 1990, they moved to Crestline, then moved in 2003 to Beaumont.

Dean has two daughters and sons-in-law, Cathy and Mike Wagner of Napa and Barbara and Bob Gustavson of Anaheim. He also has a stepdaughter, Denise Bates of Las Vegas.

Between them, Dean and Dottie have 12 grandchildren and 26 grandchildren.

Dean has been a member of the Elks since 1960 and has served as exalted ruler of the Skyforest Lodge in Rimforest, as state vice president and as district deputy grand exalted ruler of the Southeast District.

He is also a member of Disabled American Veterans and enjoys doing crossword puzzles and jigsaw puzzles.