James Earnest Cockrell, Sr. was born on July 2, 1941, to the late Abraham Cockrell and Thelma Featherstone, in Houston, MS. At a tender age he confessed his faith to Christ and was baptized. His hard work and caring heart led him to become
a caregiver at an early age. As a teenager he migrated to Chicago, IL with the union of Abraham and the late Isabell Cockrell. His parents taught and embedded in him the strength of family and having a solid foundation. James graduated from Blessed Sacrament Elementary, and he went on to attend Cregier Vocational HS. His readiness to work landed him factory jobs until he was drafted by the US Army in January 1964. James was determined to maintain normalcy and vowed to love Bertha Lee Griffin on December 31, 1964. His dedication to the US Army earned him recognition for service in Vietnam and a Combat Infantry medal. Gaining an honorable discharge in December 1969, guaranteed he could now be with his dedicated wife and family. This union would give birth to three sons to carry his legacy.
James was very loving, caring, gentle and firm. He spent thirty plus years as a Train Operator for Chicago Transit Authority and retired in 1997. His bond with his own father established the standard for the relationship with his children. He always demonstrated that family was everything and togetherness was a requirement. We imagine on May 30, 2023, James looked in heaven’s gate and got excited as God extended his hands to reunite him with his father; son – Jermaine; mothers – Isabell and Thelma; and siblings - Bill, Sonny, Lucille, Fannie Lou and Mary.
He leaves to honor his memory: a devoted wife – Bertha Cocrell; two sons - James Cockrell Jr. and Jerome Cockrell; three grandsons - James III, Justin, Josiah, and Chris; great grandson - James IV; Special Daughter – Shawna Howze; brother-in-law - Wayne Griffin; sister-in-law – Linda Jones; a host of nieces, nephews, cousins, family, friends, and neighbors.