Noel Blair Hunter Cochrane

[ Age 88 ] Lutherville resident, founder of industrial valve and filtering business, adhered to customs of native England.

February 10, 2008|By Jacques Kelly | Jacques Kelly,Sun reporter

Noel Blair Hunter Cochrane, founder and president of an industrial valve and filtering business, died of a respiratory ailment Feb. 3 at his Lutherville home. He was 88.

Born in London on Christmas Day and known as Blair, he emigrated at age 3 with his family to the United States. His father, great-grandnephew of Adm. Lord Thomas Cochrane, 10th Earl of Dundonald, was recruited to work in the United States. The elder Mr. Cochrane was chief financial officer of the newly opened Lord Baltimore Hotel.

Raised on Winding Way in North Baltimore, the younger Mr. Cochrane was a 1937 Polytechnic Institute graduate. During and after World War II, he served in three services - the U.S. Army, the Royal Air Force and the United States Maritime Service.

Family members said he wanted to be a pilot but the Air Corps school was closed to new applicants. He enlisted in the Army and completed basic training. Still a British subject, he applied to the Royal Air Force. The U.S. Army escorted him by train to Canada, where he was taken in hand by the British consul and delivered to the RAF. He remained in British service in Canada.

After the war, he returned to the U.S. and lived on Staten Island while he worked in the Maritime Service - and became an American citizen. He later returned to Baltimore and earned a bachelor's degree in economics at the Johns Hopkins University.

"His parents remained royal subjects and raised their five sons with proper British customs, strict manners and respect for their elders," said his daughter, Leigh Cochrane of Baltimore. "Every day, tea was served at 4 p.m., and my father continued this custom to the day he died - which was after his 4 p.m. cup of tea."

Mr. Cochrane founded the N.B. Cochrane Co. in 1956 on Loch Raven Road in Waverly and later had offices in the Mid-Atlantic region.

"He wanted to work for himself," his daughter said. "He ran his business by the strong standards within the way he lived. He had strong principles, a mechanical mind, worked hard and became successful."

Mr. Cochrane sold pneumatic and hydraulic equipment and industrial radiators, and built industrial valves. He also started another company that sold industrial hoses and fittings - Colliflower Inc.

"His family always came first. He raised his children to be independent, self-sufficient, to work hard," his daughter said. "He insisted we change our oil, filters and tires on our cars and to do minor home repairs and our taxes."

He was a member of the Elkridge, Maryland and Baltimore Country clubs, the St. Andrew's Society and the Friends of the American Wing at the Baltimore Museum of Art.

He owned a home in Cape May, N.J., for 35 years and was the past president of the Cape May Cottagers Association, the Cape May Beach Club and the Corinthian Yacht Club, where he raced a sailboat.

A memorial service will be held at 11 a.m. Tuesday at the Episcopal Church of the Redeemer, 5603 N. Charles St., where he was a communicant.

In addition to his daughter, survivors include a son, N.B. Hunter Cochrane Jr. of Baltimore; and two granddaughters. His wife of 62 years, the former Beverleigh Jane Boulogne, died last year.

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