Beloved mother, Bertha Diessner Cochran passed away Wednesday, March 4, 2020 at her home on Mt. Tabor in Southeast Portland. Her family was with her and were praying the Divine Mercy Prayers during the Great Hour of Mercy when she passed away.
Bertha was born April 7, 1922, the fourth child of Oskar and Philomena Deissner, in Diessner, Nevada. Her family operated a 1500-acre dairy farm in Washoe County. Bertha's siblings were
Emily Gilmartin, Olga Heckey, Emma Winans, Irwin Diessner, Helen Lotz, and Oscar Diessner.
Bertha began helping on the farm when she was only four and one-half years old, milking cows and operating and cleaning the hand cream separator. When she was older, she would walk to school after helping milk the sixty cows every morning.
She lived with her family on the farm until, at sixteen years old, she moved to Gerlach for her junior year in high school. The following year she moved to Cedarville to finish high school. After graduation, she worked on a ranch as a cook on a chuck wagon, preparing meals for sixty men while earning money for college.
She attended the University of Nevada in Reno and lived with Dominican nuns. She worked for the Dominicans at St. Mary's Hospital, serving as switch board operator, a lab assistant and an aide for the nuns. Bertha worked a 48 hour week while studying as a full time student. She graduated in May 1944 with a BS in Home Economics.
Bertha was accepted to continue her studies at four internship programs for dietetics. She chose to attend the University of Oregon in Portland because she wanted to locate a relative, her Aunt Anna Illichmann, who had not been heard from since the end of WWI. Portland was her last known address. The Deissner family had purchased merchandise from Montgomery Wards in Portland, so Bertha wrote the business asking for help in finding her aunt. Montgomery Ward placed her letter in the Oregonian, requesting if anyone knew of Anna's whereabouts that they contact Bertha Diessner. Anna read the article and wrote to Bertha, but she thought she was writing to her younger sister, Berta.
After finishing her internship, Bertha accepted a position as a dietician in Santa Rosa, California. Before leaving Portland, she organized a trip to Rockaway Beach for the Cathedral Club, her last function as president of the club.
Joe Cochran and his good friend, Joe Healey, went to the Rockaway outing and arrived after the warming fires had been lit on the beach. Bertha was making s'mores at one of the fires when Joe and his friend arrived.
When Joe Cochran first saw Bertha's profile at the fire, he said it was like a thunder bolt had hit him. He told his friend, Joe Healey, "That is the most beautiful woman in the world. I am going to marry her! She is going to the mother of my babies!" Mr. Healey said, "You are crazy. You haven't even met her." They were married on June 18, 1949.
Joe was employed by the Burlington Northern Railroad and was an engineer in the Portland switch yards.
Joe and Bertha built their home on 7405 SE Main Street and moved in on September 1, 1951. Bertha lived in the home for the rest of her life.
The couple was blessed with seven children:
Joseph Francis Cochran, Jr. and wife, Barbara. 3 Children Sarah, Anna, Emily.
Mary Bertha Omodt and husband, Jimm. 6 Children Mary Coleen, Greta, Katrina, James, Bridget, Bjorn.
Patricia Louise Omodt and husband, Fred. 8 Children Karen, Luke, Brian, Michael, Katherine, John, Steven, Kelly.
Kevin Dennis Cochran, Sr., and wife Catherine. 6 Children Rachelle, Brittany, Diana, Mackenzie, Yvonne, Kevin Jr.
Barbara Ann Cochran 7 Children Philomena, Katarina Berta, Luke, Joseph, Michael, Daniel, Michelle
Donald Mark Cochran 4 Children Austin, Kristina Marie (Deceased), Sean, Erin
Oscar George Cochran Son Adam Ford (Deceased)
Bertha worked as a Registered Dietician at many of Portland's medical facilities, including;
Emanuel, Holladay Park, Bess Kaizer, St. Joseph's, St Vincent, Jallos, Menlow Park, Glendover, Mt Tabor Convalescent and Longview Convalescent.
She was active in community activities as well. She volunteered to help with the American Cancer Association, the American Heart Association where she served as the chairwoman for the Spice Up Your Life program, and the MS Society. Bertha also served as a Cub Scout Den Leader and a Blue Bird leader.
Bertha enjoyed camping, hiking, gardening, growing flowers and sewing. She especially liked family outings to Mt. Hood, Multnomah Falls, and the ocean. She was well known as a wonderful hostess and liked to entertain large gatherings using the arts of cooking and decorating that she developed as a Registered Dietician. As her family grew, it was not unusual to be treated to a formal sit down dinner for twenty five people at holiday get togethers.
Bertha and Joe prayed the family Rosary daily with their children. Their example has been passed on to their children, grandchildren, and great grandchildren.
Bertha was preceded in death by her parents, six of her siblings and her husband, Joe, who passed away on All Souls Day, November 1, 1975.
She is survived by one sibling, her children, thirty three grandchildren, twenty seven great children, and many nieces and nephews.
Bertha's funeral Mass will be held at St. Birgitta Catholic Church at 10:00 am on Wednesday March 11, 2020, with a Rosary immediately preceding the Mass at 9:30. St. Birgitta's is located at 11820 NW St. Helens Rd. in Portland. Remembrances may be given to any pro-life organization in Bertha's name.