December 8, 1950 - June 14, 2020
Frankfort resident William Thomas Cockley (known affectionately as Tom), died Sunday, June 14th 2020 at the age of 69. The son of Rosemary Seidell Chandler and William Cockley, Tom grew up the eldest of six brothers in Rockville, Maryland. By the time he graduated high school, Tom had already become a world-class gymnast and discovered his passion for teaching. Tom received his Master’s degree in Physical Education from the University of Maryland (1977-80), and credits his experience with the Gymkhana program for inspiring his teaching philosophy. He then went on to Jacksonville State University (1981-88) as an assistant professor before pursuing his PhD Professional Preparation from Florida State (1988-93), earning him the impressive title of Dr. Cockley, although he always preferred Coach. In 1992, Tom joined the faculty at Kentucky State University, where he would stay for the next 20 years. Amongst numerous other achievements, Tom established Gymkhana programs at both JSU and KSU. Tom’s coaching philosophy was one of inclusion, nuance, and support, believing that every individual interaction was a “teachable moment” and that all students could achieve success. Considered a disadvantaged student himself, Tom led first by example, always employing empathy and personal discipline to inspire and lead. A loyal servant to his community, he was a member of The Frankfort Rotary Club and served as Community Service Chair. He brought the NYSP Summer Program to Frankfort and served as Program Administrator for 6 years. He was also an active member on the board of The American Red Cross for eleven years, and a dedicated volunteer at the local food bank. Amongst his friends and family, Tom was a pillar of strength and unconditional love. He was always happy to be of-service, offering advice, perspective, and his famous barbecue. Tom is survived by his wife of 50 years, Anne, daughter Jessica Estill and her husband Corey, son Eric Cockley and his wife Carly, his brothers Bennet, Barry, Cliff, and Steven, numerous cousins, nieces and nephews, and a multitude of students and friends. He is preceded in death by his brother, Clay. To honor Tom’s commitment to education and inclusivity, the family has established an endowment for the Gymkhana program and in lieu of flowers asks the community to consider making a donation. To make a Memorial Gift: Please mail checks payable to University of Maryland College Park Foundation with “Cockley Endowment (Gymkana) in the memo line to: Gift Acceptance University of Maryland College Park Foundation, 4603 Calvert Road, College Park, MD 20742. A celebration of life will be scheduled in the future at a date to be determined. Arrangements are under the direction of Harrod Brothers Funeral Home & Crematory.
Frankfort resident William Thomas Cockley (known affectionately as Tom), died Sunday, June 14th 2020 at the age of 69. The son of Rosemary Seidell Chandler and William Cockley, Tom grew up the eldest of six brothers in Rockville, Maryland.... View Obituary & Service Information
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Frankfort resident William Thomas Cockley (known affectionately...View More
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