The alderman was honored Dec. 6 with a video tribute and proclamations from District 17 State Sen. Rick Jeffares, R-Locust Grove, and District 111 State Rep. Brian Strickland, R-McDonough.
During more than three decades in public service, Cochran has served as councilman or mayor pro-tem and on the finance, community relations, public safety, public works and pension committees.
He played a role in the design and construction of Clark Community Park, Dabney Hunter Simmons Park, Community Park, new water and sewer facilities, Merle Manders Conference Center, the Cochran Library, the Stockbridge tag office and the new city hall.
Cochran helped facilitate the renovations of the Municipal Court buildings and the old City and the Stockbridge Community Arts Center.
He was born in Atlanta and moved to Stockbridge in 1948 at the age of 16 to work in his uncle’s grocery store.
“Back then, many of the roads were dirt. You could get out in the middle of North Henry Boulevard and play football,” he said in a statement, referring to the now five-lane road that runs through the city’s heart.
He and his wife Bettye have three daughters, one son and seven grandchildren.
After U.S. Army service during the Korean War, Cochran returned to Stockbridge and opened two gas stations and a courier service.
He was first elected in 1977 when Stockbridge had the reputation for being a speed trap.
“I know it was – they stopped one of my daughters three times in one day,” Cochran said.
In his first years on the council, Cochran was instrumental in abolishing Stockbridge’s police and fire departments.
The city contracts with Henry County for these services.
In July 2011, Cochran cut the ribbon on the Harold L. Cochran Public Safety Center, an 18,000-square-foot state-of-the art precinct.
The city council told Cochran that despite his protestations, they were going to name a building for his years of service so he should choose one.
“The new precinct made sense considering I came on the council fighting the police,” he said.