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Obituary: Betty Jean Cochran

Village Grille waitress, loving mother, grandmother

Longtime Claremont resident Betty Jean Cochran died in her sleep on Saturday July 22, 2017 after a six-year journey with Alzheimer’s illness. She was 85.

Betty Jean was born May 29, 1932 in Ava, Missouri. Her family moved to California when she was a teenager.

She met her future husband Charles Cochran at the Village Grille restaurant in Claremont, where she worked as a waitress. After his service in the Navy, Mr. Cochran worked at his uncle’s service station, Unocal 76 in the Claremont Village. He would come for lunch everyday to the Village Grille and sit in her section. Since he would order the same thing each day—two hamburgers and a vanilla shake—she would put his order in when she saw him come through the door. Soon after this lovely courtship, the couple married. They raised two daughters in Claremont, Marcia and Janis.

Mrs. Cochran later worked at Runsvold’s Pharmacy in downtown Claremont, and eventually went on to cosmetology school to become a hairdresser. She opened her own shop in Pomona called Jeans’ Klip and Kurl. Her family shared that she enjoyed driving her baby blue 1957 convertible T-bird up and down the old dips on Base Line Road in Claremont.

She was active in the Claremont community, and opened her home up as a voting precinct during election seasons. Her family recalled the delicious chocolate mint dessert she always prepared for the other poll volunteers. She loved decorating her house for both secular and non-secular holidays—Christmas at Betty’s always looked like Santa’s workshop, they related.

In retirement, she was a loving mother and grandmother, her family shared, enjoying her grandchildren, garage sales, ballroom dancing and chips with salsa and guacamole too. 

Mrs. Cochran was preceded in death by her husband Charles Cochran, her granddaughter Amber Kriezel, her sister Nikki Layman, her brother Larry Gay and her cousin, Norma Fleetwood.

She is survived by her daughters, Marcia Kriezel and Janis Cochran; grandchildren, Brian C. Kriezel and Heather Stizel; son-in-law Duane Cunningham; granddaughter-in-law Gretchen Stizel, brother, Jim Patterson; and sisters Sharon Cook, Paula Peters, Kathy Shewee and Patty Foged (the twins).

A graveside service will be held at 2 p.m. Friday, July 28 at Oak Park Cemetery, 410 Sycamore Ave., Claremont.

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