Friends and family members gathered to celebrate the life of avid skydiver Sharon Cochrane, whose ashes were spread thousands of feet in the air by a friend.
WEEPING WATER, Neb. (KLKN) – Friends of Sharon Cochrane say she had an adventurous spirit and an infectious personality.
“She always had a smile and she just had an energy about her.” friend and neighbor Stacey Wiles said. “She really cared about other people like she made you feel like she cared when she talked to you.”
Cochrane passed away from COVID-19 in December of 2020. Because of social gathering restrictions last winter, she was unable to have a proper burial.
On Saturday, the life and memory of the avid skydiver was honored with an ash jump more than 12,000 feet in the sky.
“There’s no way we would have missed it for anything because this is how she would want to go out,” Wiles said.
Pat Chrny, who executed the ash dive, says Cochrane picked up skydiving later in life. He actually took her on her first tandem dive. Chrny estimates that Cochrane has jumped out of a plane roughly 230 times over the course of her life.
“Skydivers, they’re a pretty tight knit group,” Chrny said. “So when somebody starts to jump in, they just kind of become part of the group. I’ve jumped with her numerous times.”
Chrny says he was honored to be the one to spread Cochrane’s ashes.
“We were all sad about [Cochrane’s death] so when they said that they were going to do an ash jump, I said, ‘Sure!’”
Kay Traudt, who went to Lincoln High School with Cochrane and enjoyed a 66-year friendship with her, says the ash jump was a fitting tribute.
“I think it’s wonderful,” Traudt said. “It was [close friend of Cochrane, Paul Canny’s] idea and he had a wonderful idea, because it really shows people enjoyed Sharon over the years and we will appreciate her after she’s gone.”
Traudt joked that Cochrane used to ask her to jump with her, an invitation she politely declined.
“She loved it and she always wanted me to go up,” Traudt said. “I said, ‘No thanks, Sharon! You have a good time and I’ll stay right here on the ground.’”
Traudt says Cochrane will be dearly missed.
“I just wish she was back to have a good time again,” she said. “I miss her a lot.”
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