The members of East Whiteland Fire Company will lay to rest their brother, Thomas "Tommy" Cockerham, on Saturday, July 11th. His passing saddens us, and his family and friends are in our thoughts and prayers. Tommy was always a barrel full of laughs while at the station, and he never failed to put a smile on the face of those he came across. When he wasn't busy making you laugh, Tommy would be out on the streets during emergency calls protecting first responders and residents as the Captain of our Fire Police. While the station may feel a little less joyful tomorrow, we'll do our best to tell some jokes you would be proud of and make sure everyone leaves with no worries.
Thomas E. Cockerham died at his home on Thursday, July 2nd with his family by his side. Born in Chester County and a lifelong resident of Frazer in East Whiteland Township, Tommy had many accomplishments during his life and was best known for his happy and bright personality, which brought joy and love to many. Tommy was recently married to his long-time love Linda Roselli Cockerham, which the couple shared wonderful times and their favorite getaway vacations to Cape May, New Jersey. Linda recalls favorite times when they were dancing, Tom’s captivating personality that seemed to light up a room, and a life lived resembling the character of George Bailey in the 1946 film “It’s a Wonderful Life,” in which Bailey helped many people in need, a testament of love and goodwill to all. Tommy is survived by his cousin and lifelong friend Randy Cockerham of Frazer, his brother Barry Cockerham (Linda Cockerham) of Frazer, nephews Barry Cockerham Jr. (Ann Marie) of Coatesville, Jason Cockerham (Jennifer) of Pottstown and children by marriage, Jaime Saucier of Parkesburg, Cheryl Ann Welsh (Dann Welsh) of Downingtown, and Jimmy Newton of Coatesville, and is preceded in death by his father McCoy Cockerham, his mother Betty Cockerham, and his sister Betty Ann Cockerham. Tommy enjoyed a big part of his life at his family’s Circle C Ranch farm in Exton while learning about farming, riding horses, and many family functions on the farm, including riding from the family farm with the “Texas Bar-6” wagon train to Valley Forge Park in July 1976 during America’s Bicentennial celebration. As a young man, he joined the East Whiteland Fire Company as a volunteer firefighter and was on the original committee to start Emergency Medical Services and Rescue within the company. In November 1972 Tommy worked for the Chester County Police Radio and then transferred to the Chester County Fire Board, as well as the Upper Main Line Fire Board dispatching emergency calls. With his cousin Randy, Tommy attended the American Academy of Broadcasting in Philadelphia, where the two received their diploma’s from Philadelphia Radio Personality Long John Wade, and became broadcasters at radio stations in Pennsylvania, New Jersey, and Maryland, including WCOJ in Chester County as well as working as voiceover artists recording commercials for radio and television stations all across the country. Always having a love for the arts, Tommy was a Cavalier and Director for the Chester County Ballet Company in West Chester at the Harrison studio, as well as the Young Americans group with Terry Hopple. Tommy joined “Music in the Parks” each spring as he would travel along the east coast and Canada with long-time friend Christian Butler, providing band competition programs and was also the host and announcer for the Good Neighbor Day festivities in Downingtown each year on July 4th for the last 35 years, an annual event with proceeds going to local Chester County Emergency Responders. With the intention of educating young men, Tom wrote a book and collaborated with Randy for an audio version of “Manners for Men,” which received national coverage on the Fox News Network in 1999. In recent years Tommy served as Captain of the Special Fire Police for the East Whiteland Fire Company, providing traffic control at highway incidents and was very involved in the Traffic Incident Management program helping to bring safety standards for motorists and emergency responders. With a smile on his face, he would quite often be heard saying, “No worries” and signed off every radio program saying, “Be good to one another”, as Tommy was always bringing cheer and helping those in need. His generosity, kindness, and zest for life will always be remembered by all who knew him.
Relatives and friends are invited to attend Tom’s visitation on Saturday, July 11, 2020 from 9am-12 noon at Mauger-Givnish Funeral Home 24 Monument Avenue Malvern, PA, followed by his life celebration service at 12 noon. Interment Great Valley Presbyterian Church, Malvern, PA.
When visiting the funeral home, wearing a mask is recommended and please practice social distancing.
In lieu of flowers, memorial contributions may be made in Tom’s memory to East Whiteland Fire Company 205 Conestoga Road Malvern, PA 19355.