James ‘Sham’ Cochrane

James “Sham” Cochrane. Courtesy photo.

James Michael ‘Sham’ Cochrane
1950 — 2022

James Michael “Sham” Cochrane was born in Eureka, California, on Sept. 10, 1950, to James William Cochrane III and Alice Loree Stockton Cochrane. He was the first born of their five children.

He passed away peacefully on March 14, 2022, at his home in Granite Bay, California, with family at his side.

Sham spent his childhood in the hills outside Loleta and was active in school sports, excelling in basketball and baseball. He was always ready for a pick up game as long as there was a ball involved and played school sports in Loleta, Fortuna and Humboldt State.

He graduated from Fortuna Union High School in 1968, receiving his Bachelor of Arts degree in 1971 and his teaching credential from Humboldt State University in 1972. While in college, he played semipro baseball as catcher for the Humboldt Crabs. He also earned his master’s degree in education at University of San Francisco along with a master’s in counseling at Louisiana State University.

Sham was drafted into the U.S. Army and enlisted on July 24, 1972, transferring to the National Guard and retiring as a 1st Sergeant of the 579th Engineering Battalion after 21 years of service on Nov. 1, 1993.

Sham met Pam Watkins in 1973 while playing softball on opposing teams, with some help from some of Pam’s co-workers at College of the Redwoods who knew Sham playing unabashed matchmakers. They married in Eureka in July of 1977 and Sham had a ready-made family with Pam’s son Gerald “Skip” Hunter.

He began his teaching career at Loleta Union School, later moving to Lake County where he taught middle school in Lower Lake and soon moving to high school at Kelseyville Unified. Never without a ball in his hand, he coached many a student in the finer points of basketball, baseball, softball and football even into his retirement years.

In 1979 Sham, Pam and Skip welcomed Kristin “Kristie” Lynne and Corey Michael arrived in 1981 to complete the family. They happily raised their family in Lake County.

In 2014, Sham retired from teaching in Kelseyville and in 2017 he and Pam relocated to Roseville and then Granite Bay where he lived until his death.

Sham also volunteered on the Lake County Fair Board for many years as well as many volunteer events while his wife Pam was auditor-controller of Lake County.

Sham is predeceased by his wife, Pam (Watkins) Cochrane; maternal grandparents, Virgil and Ruby Stockton; paternal grandparents, James W. Cochrane II and Louise Cochrane; parents, James W. Cochrane III and Loree Cochrane Buck; brothers, Patrick Stephen Cochrane and Robert Todd Cochrane; and nieces, Jana Cochrane and Dottie Chambers.

Sham is survived by his mother-in-law, Bette Watkins and her husband, Phil Merklin of Eureka; children, Skip and Lorrie Hunter and their sons Treven of Pollock Pines and Tyler of Pioneer, California; Kristie and Adam Stogner and their family, Chiara, Cameron and Cayden of Virginia Beach, Virginia; Corey Cochrane and daughter Arianna and Kristyn Long (Corey’s fiance) and son Jackson of Granite Bay.

He is also survived by his brother, Tim and Marie Cochrane of Ettersburg; sister, Leslie and Dennis Burchfield of Rio Dell; sister-in-law, Cyndee Cochrane of Fortuna; brother-in-law, Ray and Gwynn Watkins of Midway, Utah, and nieces and nephews Laura Cochrane, Rebecca Sheets, Justin Cochrane, Chris Cochrane and Lauren Burchfield.

There are so many others that have adopted Papa Sham as their grandfather, father, uncle and family, we thank each and every one of you for the loving support. He loved us all!

We would also like to thank the staff at UCD Rocklin Infusion Center and UCD Hospice for their outstanding care.

A celebration of Sham’s life will be conducted on Friday, April 15, at Medina’s Watering Hole in Scotts Valley (Lakeport) at 2 p.m. The address is 3272 Scotts Valley Road, Lakeport CA 95453.