Judith Lucile Cocking (Barnes)
Judith Lucile Cocking (Barnes), also known to her kids as “Sweet Judy Blue Eyes” went to be with The Lord January 15th in Tucson, AZ. Treasured mother to her two adult children, Scott (NYC area) and Brett (Ft. Lauderdale area), her husband Duane (Newman Lake and Tucson); she is also survived by her brother, Lynn (Denver); sister Wanda (Tucson); sister Penny (Council Bluffs), as well as her son-in-law Bahadir (NYC area) and daughter-in-law Jacqueline (Ft. Lauderdale area), as well as numerous cousins, nieces and nephews, and grandchildren Lucas and Xavier (Ft. Lauderdale area) whom she adored.
Judy was born in Council Bluffs, IA on October 1, 1943 to Ray and Lucile Barnes. She graduated from High School in Glenwood, IA and has kept in close contact with her High School classmates who voted her “Most Talkative”. She then followed her older brother to Dana College in Blair, NB and worked her way through college to graduate in 1966 with a degree in psychology and a teaching certificate. During her Senior year she met her husband, Duane Cocking, who was a young Lieutenant at Offut AFB, NB. Three weeks after Judy’s graduation they were married on June 18, 1966 and moved to Bellevue, NB near the AFB base where she had also been offered a teaching job.
They decided to delay their honeymoon for 2 weeks so they could drive a pickup that Duane’s Dad had ordered from a factory in Wisconsin to his home in Centralia, WA. A fellow officer, who was being reassigned overseas, had found out that they would be going through his hometown in Utah and asked Duane if he could haul “something” for him and Duane should have asked what it was before agreeing to do it. So they left on their honeymoon with a piano in the back of the pickup. The first night they got to Colorado State University, where Duane had graduated, stopped off to introduce Judy to some of his fraternity brothers and the couple ended spending the first night of their honeymoon in bunk beds. The next day they delivered the piano in Ogden and were invited to a family gathering and spent the second night of their honeymoon at the families house. Finally, after stopping at different relatives houses she made it to Centralia and planned to start a real honeymoon to be spent at a mountain lake in the same pickup but this time with a camper mounted on it. Somehow, two other couples,close friends of Duane, were also invited along. That was one of those things that wives don’t forget…ever.
After a less than romantic honeymoon, the couple returned to Nebraska and work. On Judy’s first day of teaching first grade one of her students got his head stuck in his desk and the Principal had to be called in to get the child unstuck. Ten short months later they moved to Vance, AFB for Duane’s Pilot Training and she got another teaching job in Carrier, OK. After finishing Pilot Training Duane went off to Vietnam for a year. Half way through the year they met in Hawaii for another honeymoon. This time without the pickup, random pianos, extra guests and actual beds. After returning from Vietnam Duane was assigned to Fairchild AFB in Spokane, WA and both realized they loved the area and bought their first house in the Spokane Valley.
Both of her kids, Scott and Brett were born at the Fairchild, AFB Base while Duane was on alert. For the next several years he was gone so much that Judy raised both kids, and a younger sister, almost by herself. She had the true love of a mother, forgiving many of her kid’s antics like flooding the basement to make an improvised swimming pool, or finger-painting the walls with tar carried in from the roadwork being done nearby. As her kids grew up and became adults, she would emphatically say that “I will always be your mother” when they came to her with any problems or issues. True to her word Judy was there for not only her family but nearly anybody in need of a ear to bend or a hug-even Democrats.
While her husband’s military career took them to other places including Michigan and Montana, they kept their house in the Spokane Valley and it remained their home.
Anticipating his retirement from the Air Force, she and the children moved back to Spokane while he commuted back and forth from Montana. One day she was informed that a truck would be arriving with a load of hardwood lumber for her to sell out of the garage. That turned into a successful company, Cocking Hardwoods, that they both ran for 13 years until they were bought out by a larger company.
Apart from work Judy loved traveling and vacations. The family, along with a variety of exchange students, hit almost every seaside destination in Mexico, as well as, a couple in Costa Rico and one in Venezuela. For their 30 year anniversary her husband convinced her to go to Zimbabwe. Their hosts threw the couple a party and invited several of the locals. Two of them got into a drinking contest and soon Judy was leading the group into the dining area singing “Marching to Pretoria”. 15 years later She and Duane spent her 45th anniversary on safari in South Africa.
Judy also enjoyed volunteering and spent several years as Treasurer of both the Inland Empire Safari Club and the local chapter of the Washington Pilots Association. She even survived an airplane crash while she and Duane were hosting a picnic for the group. At the same time she was also helping her husband build a house nearby while keeping a steady update on the birth of her first grandson, Lucas.
Her family extended beyond her husband and children and included many neighborhood kids and exchange students from around the world. From Switzerland to Turkey they all got the full Judy experience. She especially liked the ones who had a bit of “character”. She visited several of them over the years in their home Countries. She got lost in Rome, Drunk at a college bar in Freiburg Germany and visited the cove in Turkey where Marc Anthony met Cleopatra. Her family also included her dogs. She was especially fond of the dogs that she picked out and a little less of the one’s her husband brought home. But, she loved them all. Deacon, Trooper, Pope, Becket, Winston, Kip, Zell and Buff were loved by her. She endured their antics just like she did her kids.
She lived life to the fullest in spite having serious health issues, including MS, two bouts of Breast Cancer, 3 hip operations, and heart disease. Regardless of these issues she always kept a positive spirit and put others first. She was quite a woman who enjoyed life and loved people and animals. Her laughter, love and smile remain in our hearts forever.
Please join us in celebrating Judy’s life. There will be a public memorial service for her Saturday Feb 3rd at 3:00 at Opportunity Presbyterian Church on Pines Road in the Valley and a private interment on the following Monday at the Veterans Cemetery.
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