Local couple does not need ears to hear each other loud and clear
Ted and Elberta Cochran may be deaf, but they don’t need words to understand each other.
They seemingly look at one another and know what the other is thinking.
“She likes to tease me all the time — about everything,” Ted said.
When they do use formal communication, a few quick sign language motions are all they need to be on the same page again.
The couple has been married since 1971 and lives in Sunset Meadows I. They are known for their outgoing personalities.
“They’re the sweetest couple, really,” said their neighbor Cecilia “Cele” Bergmann. “I feel as though they’re so well-suited to one another.”
She describes the Cochrans as friendly and joyful, and she felt close to them even when she first met them.
“Every time, when I see them, I get hugs from both of them,” Bergmann said. “Not only when I greet them, but when I leave.”
Sometimes, she said, it’s difficult to understand them, but communication is made easier by Ted’s ability to read lips and speak fairly clearly. Otherwise, the couple writes down what they are trying to relay.
Elberta lost her hearing when she was 9 months old after contracting spinal meningitis. Ted was 8 years old when he got an ear infection. He got his first hearing aid in 1932, and went completely deaf in 1991.
“It was hard, but now I’m used to it,” he said.
The two were married in 1971. Their fathers worked on the railroad together in Oregon and they attended school for the deaf in Salem, Ore. Friends re-introduced them while they were both in Grand Junction.
“One of my friends told me, ‘Do you know Elberta?'” Ted wrote. “I was surprised that she was here in Grand Junction.”
The two were married soon after and have been happy together ever since. Both had been married before, and neither had much advice for long-lasting love.
“Failures and success are lifelong lessons,” Elberta wrote. “Be yourself.”
The couple is not about to just sit around, together, though. They do enjoy watching TV with closed captioning — “Little House on the Prairie” is Ted’s favorite show — but they like to stay busy, too.
Elberta enjoys reading, solving puzzles, walking and bowling. And she likes to hunt and fish. Ted is interested in coin collecting, as well as walking and bowling with his wife.
They are active in the community, too. Both like volunteering, particularly with SHARE, an organization that provides people with affordable and healthy foods.
Elberta is proficient on her computer, and sends e-mails for the agency. Ted said he leaves the technological work up to her.
The Cochrans have several children, grandchildren and great-grandchildren.
On their walls are pictures and newspaper articles reminding them of years past. Ted was a chipper in Washington from 1942-45 building a Navy ship. He spent many years with the Empire Courier as a printer and linotype operator. He also did some paste-up work.
Elberta has held a variety of jobs, from motel maid to dietary staff at The Memorial Hospital.
Their faces and personalities have become recognizable throughout Craig, mainly because, as Bergmann said, they are so friendly and so in love.
“He’s a good man,” she signed.
“She’s a good woman too.”
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