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Mackinac Bridge Authority remembers original board member William Cochran

February 27, 2015

The Mackinac Bridge Authority (MBA) is remembering the service of the last surviving original authority board member, William J. Cochran, who died Feb. 14.

Cochran, a World War II U.S. Army veteran, had a long and varied career, which included serving as the director of the International Division of the Office of Economic Expansion at the Michigan Department of Commerce, and executive director of both the Michigan Economic Action Council and the Michigan Job Development Authority. He retired from the U.S. Army Reserve in 1966 as a lieutenant colonel.

Cochran was an original member of the Mackinac Bridge Authority, serving from 1950 to 1967, first appointed by Gov. G. Mennen Williams. He was the last surviving member of the original Bridge Authority and celebrated the 50th anniversary of the opening of the bridge in 2007.

"Bill was a foundational member of the Mackinac Bridge Authority, helping set the high standard for the bridge's management that has endured for more than 50 years," said MBA Board Chairman William H. Gnodtke. "His leadership and guidance have been vital to the bridge's continued success."

"Bill and his peers - Prentiss Brown, Charles Fisher, George Osborn, Murray Van Wagoner, and Fred Zeder - formed the basis for how all succeeding board members have served," said MBA Executive Secretary Bob Sweeney. "All of us who are stewards of the bridge feel very proud to follow their example."

In Cochran's memory, flags at the Mackinac Bridge will be flown at half-staff this Saturday and Sunday. Cochran's full obituary is available here.

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