An e-wake for Larry Cockerham

Bonny Blue Flag

1st Lieutenant
Joined
Jun 21, 2008
Location
Irving, Texas
With a nod from Mike and positive general concensus, this thread is a wake for Larry that we can participate in....an e-wake.

The sole purpose of this thread is to allow us to celebrate Larry's life with memories, anecdotes, what made him unique, humorous episodes, etc. A chance to say good-bye.

Ole suggested that at a later date this thread be printed, put in a binder, and given to Darlene, Larry's wife, if the majority of you agree.

In a separate thread, the subject of some kind of memorial for Larry will be addressed. Be it how to donate to the rebuilding of Nathan Bedford Forrest's boyhood home which was Larry's project, or having a tree planted on the same property with a brass plaque noting our thanks for his contributions, and any other ideas.
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--BBF
 

ole

Brev. Brig. Gen'l
Retired Moderator
Joined
Feb 20, 2005
Location
Near Kankakee
Back in '06, I went to Spring Hill and Franklin. Larry took a day off work to run me around the area. He was sitting on the steps of the Carter House VC talking with Fraley.

We started in Nashville and followed the route he was most fond of: Forrest's coverage of Hood's retreat. We stopped at the SCV national HQ in Columbia and where Sam Davis was hanged in Pulaski. Struggled a bit to find the last stand at Sugar Creek. (I swear I heard banjoes.) But we got 'er done.

That evening, mobile and I resolved to buy him dinner. Nice Mexican restaurant. Good dinner. But we were seated next to the bandstand and that night was karioke night -- for pre-teens. A bitter-sweet last meeting with Larry.

He, as much as anyone, made this board what it is.
 

johan_steele

Regimental Armorer
Retired Moderator
Joined
Feb 20, 2005
Location
South of the North 40
Larry was the epitome of what a man interested in history, honoring ancestors and being a good all around man was all about. I ran across Larry here years ago and have always had the utmost respect for his integrity and objectivity. The man would not let BS history pass and he would let you know where he stood on a subject in an honest and forthright manner.

It was Larry first and foremost who got me looking past the surface at N.B. Forrest and for that I will always be greatful. Any time a person makes me learn a little more or inspires me to read more I applaud them. Larry was that kind of man and I will always appreciate him for it.

He was part of the core of knowledgeable individuals who made CWT the place it is and he will be missed.

God Rest his soul
 

Nathanb1

Brev. Brig. Gen'l
Forum Host
Retired Moderator
Joined
Dec 31, 2009
Location
Smack dab in the heart of Texas
I was pretty nervous about joining this forum originally, but very soon, I got a message from a nice guy named Larry Cockerham wondering if I would mind researching one of his wife's ancestors in a nearby county here in Texas. He sent me the info on his family, and in discussing it, I felt like I'd known Larry all his life. Obviously we had a common interest, and I learned so much from him about researching family, THAT GUY and all his good and bad sides, and much, much more. He was such a funny man--but so heartfelt and so articulate about his beliefs. He was such a big part of this forum. I suddenly realized the other day that I had "talked" to him almost daily for over a year, and that I sort of depended on reading something he'd written every day--either a gentle nudge or a compliment he paid someone, or some new wonderful piece of research he posted on General Forrest. I am so disappointed that I will never get to meet him in person. I was so excited about going to the CWPT Teacher's Institute this summer in Franklin, and so sure that I would get to see all of it through his eyes....I know our loss is nothing compared to his family's, but it definitely is a loss for all of us here at CivilWarTalk.

I almost wrote a new member, "Pull up a cyber log," and then I realized I would never be able to joke about those giant fire ants of Larry's again.....
 

Union_Buff

Major
Forum Host
Joined
Oct 14, 2009
Location
New Zealand
Larry always managed to make us laugh with his fire ants in the introduction threads and knew how to stand his ground in the threads he posted in and always managed to back it up with cold hard facts. The last thing I remember that we talked about was the quality of New Zealand television shows "compared to the junk we have over here". I'm sure Larry would have loved to have watched a New Zealand show; he would have been very impressed.
 

lwhite64

Corporal
Joined
Mar 8, 2009
Location
Villanow, GA
I always enjoyed Larry's postings and thought of him as a true gentleman and what a member of the SCV should be, sadly I dont think as many of his colleagues follow the same path. Larry leaves a void on this forum that sadly no one can fill.
 

Bonny Blue Flag

1st Lieutenant
Joined
Jun 21, 2008
Location
Irving, Texas
Everyone gathers around those we love.

An all-ecompassing desire to heal.

From the morass of confusion, pain and fear, a transformation begins.

The bond is stronger

The love is deeper.

The respect is earned.

Everyone gathers again and again.

We see each other in a new light.

--BBF
 

TerryB

Lt. Colonel
Joined
Dec 7, 2008
Location
Nashville TN
Larry's posts are, bar none, the perfect model for lively debate without name-calling or any other kind of ad hominem attacks. I can do no more than reiterate that he was gentleman whose patience and gentlemanly manners will be very difficult to emulate. His knowledge of the greenways allowed me to find something he put me on to--a riverbank covered in blocks cut in the 1800s and destined for the then under construction state capitol. There they sit to this day, near the confluence of the Cumberland and Stones Rivers, down a bluff and on the river bank where they ran aground long before the Civil War began. I'd ridden by them dozens of times on my bike and never even suspected anything like them was there. He also sent me his "Two Armies" manuscript to read and review, which I considered quite an honor. Let's hope it's published and sheds much needed light on the routes taken and battles fought by his ancestors, both blue and gray.
 

carson_reb

Sergeant Major
Joined
Dec 14, 2010
Location
Carson City, Nevada
Unlike many of you, I have no memories of Larry to share, because I've only been a member of the forum for a couple of months. I did not have the opportunity to get to know the man the way many of you have over the years. But based on what so many have written about him and his character, it is clear that he touched so many hearts and minds. A person of this quality is always dearly missed. However, he leaves quite a legacy behind for the rest of us to remember him by and keep him alive in our memories.
I don't know what Larry's personal beliefs were, or if he held a particular spiritual faith. I'd like to think that we may see him again on the other side one day, and be reunited with him in eternity.
As a chaplain, it can be hard offering spiritual comfort without knowing whether the deceased or his loved ones would welcome such comfort. As a very small measure of comfort, and a token of my affection, I'd like to offer my e-hand to Larry's widow and the loved ones he leaves behind.
Please accept the following blessing as my parting thought on Larry.

"May the road rise to meet you.
May the wind be always at your back.
May the sun shine warm upon your face.
And rains fall soft upon your fields.
And until we meet again,
May God hold you in the hollow of His hand."

-- Irish Blessing
 

Jon G.

Sergeant
Joined
Oct 26, 2010
Location
Anderson, IN
I was so pleased when I met up with Larry here on CivilWarTalk on my introduction thread. I soon found that he was a Franklin and Hood retreat expert among other things and much of my interest is there.

Franklin has always been my favorite place to visit since it's not real far from home and I also had a gg grandfather that lost his leg at the Battle of Franklin. With inspiration and guidance from Larry, I finally figured out when and where he was when he lost his leg. I had wondered that for nearly 30 years. Thanks lots for that Larry.....

Larry stood out as a true gentleman and gentle man. He was always very courteous to everybody, even when he was taking an opposite position in a discussion or debate. He could disagree without being disagreeable and also make the point he was trying to make, as well as anybody and better than most.

His knowledge of areas of his interest were, I would think, unexcelled by anybody. Just peruse the CivilWarTalk archives and that becomes evident. What a wealth of information he has deposited there.

I had been planning on meeting Larry and tramping around Franklin this spring. He sure will be thought of when I do get there.

Rest in peace Larry.....
 

bama46

Captain
I came to this board with a huge chip on my sholder and a desire to engage in a public e-battle with those whom I disagreed. In fact, I was probably one post away from Ole recommending that I be banned. Larry counseled me and suggested I "hang in there" and it would get better. I did, and it did! Thus formed a freindship.

For some years I have been a great admirer of Gen Forrest and to be able to "sit at the feet of the master" so to speak dwas an opportunity to learn things I probably could not find anywhere else. That he had wandered North Alabama, knew my hometown, and liked the area was a plus. We had several very enjoyable conversations around a series of pilings spanning a creek that I regularly fish. I was going to check some things out for him the next time I was there. I will still do it, but reporting my findings may be a little difficult now.

Malinda is ill. Larry was among the first on the board to provide moral support and to requlary inquire about her health and my health as well. A week before his passing, we had the latest of our "how is your wife doin" conversations. They went both ways as his Darlene has some health issues of her own. the mutual worry about spouses seemed to help cement our friendship. The fact that we are the same age probably played a part as well.

Last summer, on his way to Iowa to locate a ggrandfather's grave, Larry came thru Springfield. We met and spent a wonderful afternoon together. I took him to all the Lincoln sites including the Home area. The home neighborhood has been restored to an 1860 look and we wandered around in several of the houses, but not the Lincoln home. From that we went to the Tomb and then to Camp Butler. At Camp Butler we visited the graves of 867 Confederate soldiers, many marked "Forrest's Cavalry". Larry thought they were most probably the General's brother's men. I don't know why, but he was pretty sure of himself. Larry was like that, confident, not arrogant and willing to listen to other's points of view.

So, with Larry's passing I lost a friend, a confidant, and a teacher/mentor. I will always remember the kind, considerate gentleman that I knew and respected.
 

unionblue

Brev. Brig. Gen'l
Member of the Year
Joined
Feb 20, 2005
Location
Ocala, FL (as of December, 2015).
I came to this forum a while ago and I immediately ran into Larry. :smile:

To me, Larry was the loyal opposition, the other party, the reb in the trench just across the way who would engage you in pleasent conversation and meet you in the middle of the lines to trade coffee and tobacco and swap stories with. When it came time to get back to our sides, it would be Larry who would be the first to yell, "Down Yank!" and then do his level best to convince you of his 'side.'

And Larry had a side, which was plain to anyone who read his posts for a time. His side was that of the ordinary Confederate soldier, the poor guy who enlisted out of patriotism and love of country and then had to face the horrors of war for four, bloody, terrible years. Larry loved those men, admired them, respected them and did his best to preserve a true and honest memory of them as individuals, human and flawed, yet courageous and honorable, Americans, just as their foes were.

I know he taught me that lesson, although there were many times that I exasperated him, tested him, and just plain fought him on some of his views about those men he loved and honored. On some aspects of history we would never agree, but on others, I was completely surprised by his vews, which he gave without hesitation, honestly and often and sometimes in complete agreement with my own. For you see, I found out that Larry was not afraid of history, and didn't need to twist it or deny it. In honoring his ancestors he felt no need to compromise the history that they had helped to create. It was just fact, nothing more, nothing less.

My greatest memory and most valuable gift Larry ever gave me was that he could TEACH me something and that he could do so in such a straight-forward and gentle manner, with humor and wisdom, is a gift I will never forget and do my best to remember.

I am richer and better for having known him through this forum and I give Larry the title of something I never give lightly or without due consideration.

I consider him my friend.

Sincerely,
Unionblue
 

Glorybound

Major
Retired Moderator
Honored Fallen Comrade
Joined
Aug 20, 2008
Location
Indiana
When I first joined this site in 2005, under another username, I gradually, over time, got to know the more informed, articulate posters who posted from the Southern point of view mostly; among them were Dawna, Thea, Tommy (APHillbilly), Hawglips, Bill Torrens, and Larry Cockerham. They no longer post here, for various reasons, Bill passed away a few years ago, and now Larry is gone.

I'm a Yankee at heart, and a staunch Lincoln admirer, but I was also born and bred in "butternut" country, southwest Indiana, which was largely pro-South during the war. So it's been easy for me to 'see' the Southern view of things, and quite difficult sometimes for me to decide what side of the fence I'm on in many issues that are brought up.

Larry C. had both Union and Confederate ancestors, and he also, many times could acknowledge both sides of an argument, giving credit where credit was rightly due, but make no mistake, his heart and soul belonged to Dixie.

Larry and I found common ground early on in many of these discussions, though he always was much more informed than I on most things Southern. Once in a while I'd post something that made sense to him, and more often than not, he would post up something like "well-said", or "Exactly" or something similar. A post from him like that would pretty much make my day, as I valued his opinion greatly.

What made Larry such a respected leader on this board was - 1) his immense store of knowledge about the western theater of war, especially Nathan Bedford Forrest, and the Army of Tennessee, - 2) and the manner in which he presented that knowledge. In his posts he came across as scholarly, intelligent, knowledgeable, humble, tactful, tolerant, and many of them were sprinkled with his self-deprecating sense of humor.

You couldn't help but like and respect the guy.

And you could tell that he liked people. He sent me a pm once when I was recovering in California from an episode brought on by a bipolar condition, and also when I had a heart attack in October of '09. Those were times when I needed to hear from somebody like Larry, and his words made a difference to me, as did the well-wishes of some other people on this site.

I wish I had gotten to meet him in person, but, maybe someday I'll meet him on the other side. That would be awesome.

Larry, you are missed.
 

Nathanb1

Brev. Brig. Gen'l
Forum Host
Retired Moderator
Joined
Dec 31, 2009
Location
Smack dab in the heart of Texas
I had been trying to remember what thread this was in. It was started by Glorybound, about whether anyone has had an inkling perhaps the ancestors might be hanging around trying to nudge us a little....this is Larry's reply, on Feb. 9th. It's one of his typical humorous, but very wise answers to life's questions.

"I wouldn't and don't limit these thoughts to the civil war. I've been working on genealogy since I was in high school in the 1960s. Many times I've walked down a book aisle and had an impulse to pull a book from a shelf and have found ancestors. Of course it helps to have done enough research to recognize the names when you find them. Once or twice I've had some strange feelings, almost like the experience on the trips to the battlefields.

Kinda like a sigh of relief (no I didn't tinkle) from some unknown source. I ain't kiddin', it's out there. Makes me wonder if perhaps we shouldn't do our best at this effort, just in case we have to explain later."


I don't think Larry had to explain anything when he got there.
 

frankconrad

Sergeant
Joined
Sep 19, 2009
Location
Iowa
After a year and half on the Forum I felt like I knew Larry as a Gentleman and a Benchmark that few atain.

Larry was always ready to learn, and share his knowlage of the Civil War and people. Able and willing to comunicate with everyone from the beginner to the most knowledgeable.

In our small way we each share you sorrow.



David Christen
 

diane

Retired User
Joined
Jan 23, 2010
Location
State of Jefferson
I miss chatting with Larry over Forrest. I don't think ol' Bedford himself knew as much as Larry did! It was fun to explore some things not mentioned or barely mentioned in most of the bios - THAT GUY was a lot more complicated than it seems.

Larry was always good, too, about correcting a mistake with kindness. That doesn't happen very often on an internet board but he never forgot he was dealing with real people, not just screen names. That's much appreciated!

He and I shared an ancestor, Powhatan's brother, so I feel as if I've lost a cousin. Wish I'd known him longer. His walk will be a good one, I'm certain of that.
 

ole

Brev. Brig. Gen'l
Retired Moderator
Joined
Feb 20, 2005
Location
Near Kankakee
His walk will be a good one, I'm certain of that.
And it wouldn't be a bad idea to try on his moccasins. I doubt they'll fit, but try them on anyway. They are large, but it could be that our feet might grow. It would be a fitting legacy.
 
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