Rose Cochran, a former volunteer and Army management analyst who was the wife of U.S. Sen. Thad Cochran (R-Miss.), died Dec. 12 at a hospice center in Ridgeland, Miss. She was 73.
The senator’s spokesman Chris Gallegos confirmed the death. Mrs. Cochran had been living in a nursing home in Madison, Miss., for 13 years, suffering from dementia.
In Washington, Mrs. Cochran was involved with the American Red Cross, the Senate Wives Club, the American Cancer Society and the Daughters of the American Revolution. She also spent eight years as a management analyst with the Army’s printing and publications command.
During the senator’s reelection campaign this year, a man was arrested and accused of sneaking into the nursing home, taking pictures of the bedridden Mrs. Cochran without permission, and posting her image on the Internet for a brief time as part of a political video criticizing the six-term senator.
Investigators have said conspirators intended to use images to advance allegations that the senator was having an inappropriate relationship. Thad Cochran has denied any inappropriate acts.
Clayton Kelly, a supporter of Thad Cochran’s GOP primary opponent, Chris McDaniel, was indicted in October on charges of burglary, attempted burglary and conspiracy. If convicted on all three counts, he faces a maximum sentence of 55 years in prison. A trial is scheduled for March.
The conspiracy count accuses Kelly of working with John Bertram Mary, a talk-radio host, who has since pleaded guilty in exchange for five years’ probation and no jail time.
Ridgeland attorney Mark Mayfield also was charged with conspiracy but later committed suicide.
Cochran defeated McDaniel in the June 24 Republican primary runoff.
Rose Clayton was born in Memphis on Dec. 28, 1940, and grew up in New Albany, Miss. She graduated from the University of Mississippi in 1963. The couple met at the university, where Sen. Cochran attended law school.
The Cochrans married in 1964. Besides her husband, survivors include two children, Kate and Clayton; and three grandchildren.
Mrs. Cochran was working at the Mississippi Department of Welfare when the family moved to Washington after Thad Cochran was elected to Congress in 1972. He has been in the Senate since 1978 and was reelected in November.