David Lendell Cockrum

March 24, 1945 ~ December 21, 2023 (age 78) 78 Years Old

David Cockrum Obituary

With sadness we announce the passing of David, a devoted husband, father, grandfather, brother, uncle, friend, and teacher on December 21, 2023. 


David Lendell Cockrum was born in St. Louis, Missouri to E. Lendell and Irma Cockrum. His formative years were spent in Tucson, Arizona, where he later completed his doctorate in social psychology at the University of Arizona. 


During his studies he met Sally Kilborn, whom he married in 1971 following his active duty service in the United States Army. He continued as an Army Reservist until 1976 when he retired as a captain. It was in Tucson that Sally and David started their family, welcoming their daughter Dana before embarking on a new chapter in 1974 by relocating to Alpine, Texas. It was there that their son Chris was born and completed their family.


David's legacy is deeply rooted in his distinguished career spanning four decades at Sul Ross State University in Alpine. He started as an instructor of psychology in 1974, began leading the Department of Behavioral and Social Sciences in 1983, and eventually assumed the role of vice president for academic affairs in 1990. He was named Provost Emeritus in 2010, and continued teaching two courses per semester for an additional six years.


In 2016, David and Sally moved to Victoria, Texas, where David assumed the role of interim Provost at the University of Houston - Victoria. He officially retired in July 2019. 


Beyond his professional career David was very active within the Alpine community. He served as chairman of the board of High Frontier, contributed as a member and president of the Kiwanis club of Alpine, was a charter member of the Big Bend Amateur Radio Club, and served as president of the Brewster County child welfare board. His impact also stretched statewide, as he took on the presidency of the Texas Council of Child Welfare Boards, among numerous other roles and responsibilities.


David’s life was one of dedication to his profession, his community and most of all to his family. His intelligence, patience, good humor and kind heart will be remembered and cherished by all who were fortunate enough to have known him.


David is survived by his wife of 52 years, Sally; daughter Dana Cockrum Kasling; son Chris Cockrum and his wife Marie; grandsons Graydon Lendell Kasling and Anderson David Kasling; his brother Ward Cockrum and his wife Magdalena; brother-in-law and sister-in-law Steve and Sue Kilborn; and nieces and nephews Mike Kilborn, Steve Mechtel-Kilborn, Sara Kilborn-Gagne, Eddie Olson, Andrew Cockrum, and Ana Alicia Cockrum.


David was preceded by his parents, E. Lendell and Irma Cockrum, and his sister Sandra Sue Cockrum. A memorial service will be held in the spring in Alpine, Texas. 


Should you wish to honor David’s memory with a memorial contribution, we have compiled a list of meaningful organizations and institutions that deeply impacted his life:


CurePSP: David battled progressive supranuclear palsy (PSP), a rare neurodegenerative disorder, and donations to CurePSP support research efforts dedicated to finding a cure for this condition.


Hospice of South Texas: As David’s illness progressed, the compassionate care provided by Hospice of South Texas greatly impacted our family. Contributions to this organization support their exceptional care for patients and families facing similar challenges.


Sul Ross State University: David's 42-year tenure at Sul Ross State University marked a significant chapter in his life. Donations in his honor can continue to support the institution he dedicated much of his career to.


University of Houston - Victoria: In his three short years at University of Houston - Victoria, David's contributions were impactful. Contributions to the university in his memory can further the growth that David helped put in place.


Big Bend Amateur Radio Club: Known by his call sign N5DO, Dave’s passion for ham radio was an important part of his life. Donations to the Big Bend Amateur Radio Club honor his legacy in the ham radio community and support its ongoing activities.

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