JACKSON, Miss. (WLBT) -You’ve likely seen the stories surrounding Sen. Thad Cochran’s life of service and his legacy in Mississippi politics. Past the politics, Thad Cochran is described as a man ahead of his time whose Mississippi roots ran deep.
“Education was one of his most important things he wanted to focus on," said Former Chief of Staff Keith Heard. "That goes to his background with is parents. His mother was a math teacher. His daddy was an administrator.”
His father was even Hinds County Superintendent from 1971-76. Cochran lettered in football, basketball, baseball and tennis at Byram High School. And Heard says he still hung with the best in tennis through the years.
“Loved tennis," he described. "Played it up to the very end. Thad was a very methodical person. And the way that he played tennis was very by the book and he did it beautifully.”
Ole Miss yearbook photos show he was a member of the Campus Senate, Cheerleading Squad, Associated Student Body and Pi Kappa Alpha fraternity.
“He was a leader in Oxford," Heard noted. "He’s been a leader in the Boy Scouts, college, the military and the government. But Oxford always had a warm spot for him.”
This painting from Mississippi artist Wyatt Waters was commissioned several years ago. But shows the Senator doing something he loved.
And this video was from his last day in the office.
Staffers recall memories surrounding this piano.
“I was in his office when Herbie Hancock would play his piano," Heard remembered. "Elton John played his piano when I was there one day. That was a thrill, of course. But he was such a humble person that all of that didn’t mean anything to him. It meant more to him to meet somebody like right here on the Square in Oxford Mississippi than the famous people and it was wonderful to see that about him.”