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Robert Leroy (Roy) Cochran

Gov. Robert Leroy (Roy) Cochran

  • January 3, 1935 - January 9, 1941
  • Democratic
  • January 28, 1886
  • February 23, 1963
  • Nebraska
  • University of Nebraska
  • Married Aileen Gantt; two children
  • Ambassador
  • Army


ROY COCHRAN, the twenty-fifth governor of Nebraska, was born near Avoca, Nebraska, on January 28, 1886. His education was attained at the University of Nebraska, where he graduated in 1910 with a civil engineering degree. Cochran first entered politics as the surveyor for Lincoln County, a position he won election to in 1911. He served as the state bridge inspector in 1915, and was the deputy state engineer in 1917. After serving as captain of artillery during World War I, Cochran returned to his political career. He was the district engineer for the Department of Public Works from 1919 to 1922, and served as the state engineer from 1923 to 1934. Cochran next secured the Democratic gubernatorial nomination, and was elected governor by a popular vote in November 1934. He was reelected to a second term in 1936, and to a third term in 1938. During his tenure a state social security program was sanctioned; a “pay as you go” system was initiated in state spending; and an unemployment insurance bill was authorized. Also during his term, he chaired the State Governors Conference, and presided over the Council of State Governments. After leaving the governor’s office, Cochran served as the assistant commissioner and then commissioner of the Federal Public Housing Authority, a post he held from 1943 to 1944. From 1944 to 1945 he was the liaison officer for the United Nations Relief and Rehabilitation Administration in North Africa and Europe. He also was the deputy chief of the American Mission for Aid to Greece, and served for a short time as the state engineer in 1959. Governor Robert L. Cochran passed away on February 23, 1963, and was buried in the Lincoln Memorial Park Cemetery in Lincoln, Nebraska.


Sobel, Robert, and John Raimo, eds. Biographical Directory of the Governors of the United States, 1789-1978, Vol. 3, Westport, Conn.; Meckler Books, 1978. 4 vols.

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