15 November 1931 - 28 November 2019

On Thanksgiving Day, 2019, Dr. Jackson David Cothrun joined the Great Spirit in the life beyond.  He passed away due to natural causes after 89 years of a life consumed in love. Most in Taft will remember David as the former president of Taft College (1980-2001). Some will remember him as a Past President of the Taft Rotary Club of Past President of the Board for the Historic Taft Fort or as the first Soroptamister. David also served on multiple boards in our town and county as part of acting out his firm belief that it is our duty to give back to our community. David was also a President of Hutchison Community Junior College, the Dean of New Mexico Military Institute, and the first Professor of Western Arizona University.  David was a certified welder, a wood worker, held a B.A. of Education, M.S. of Biology and Ph.D. of Botany. He was the world’s leading expert on a rare desert flower. He was an Army Private and a Colonel, aide de camp, holding no rank in between. He was a child who lived the story straight from the pages of The Grapes of Wrath. Born in Oklahoma and forced west to Orange County when the dust bowl and Great Depression were at their worst. He was just as rare an individual as his desert flower and as impressive as his meteoric jump from Private to Colonel. David is remembered for his great love of all the women in his immediate family: his first wife Billie, their daughters Sherri and Christie; his niece Cindy; his second wife Sandra and her daughters Casey, Brogan, and Meghan;  and his third wife, Charlene. He was a feminist by choice and inspiration. He always sought to better the lives of others through his charity, example, and through providing education. At 18 years of age, David served in the U.S. Army as a combat photographer in South Korea. He only kept pictures he took of smiling people. He would prefer that in your remembrance of him that you too will smile. His life will be celebrated on 29 March at 2:00 pm at The Historic Taft Fort. All who touched David and were touched by David are welcome to join us. Donations to the Historical Taft Fort Preservation Society are requested in lieu of flowers, cards, or gifts.