Carnival date turns into 60 years of marriage

Cockaynes join the elite Ambassador Group

by Cathy Lauderdale

Warren and Hope Cockayne of Winfield have been chosen as the 2006 Ambassadors for Crooked Creek Days to be held August 4, 5, and 6th. The Cockaynes will be at the head of the parade on Saturday, August 5th at 10:30 a.m. Warren and Hope have lived along Crooked Creek for 60 years, where they have farmed together. Warren's grandfather bought the ground in 1900. When he died, the farm was split three ways between Walter Cockayne, Rolly Cockayne and Lillie Cockayne Johnson Moyer. When Warren's father became ill in 1943, he took over the farm operation.

Warren also worked at Van's Plumbing & Heating, now Dan's Plumbing & Heating, with Garrett VanVranken for 11 years.

Warren's history goes back to 1923 when he was born to Rolly and Gertrude Cockayne. When he was a year old, Warren's father moved the family to Davenport where he was in the building industry. Warren attended school for several years in the Quad Cities area but in 1930 the family moved back to Winfield.

Rolly continued in the construction business, building the house across the road from Warren and Hope now occupied by Gary and Linda Jones. When they moved back to Winfield, Warren was in the second grade and has been here ever since.

The Cockaynes met in the summer of 1940 when Warren was doing construction with his uncle in Davenport. Hope blushed as Warren related the story of how the two of them met.

Warren's cousin was taking his girl to the carnival one evening and her 14-year-old sister wanted to come along. So, they asked Warren, who was then 17, to escort the younger Swartzendruber girl. They all went to LeClaire Park to the carnival and the rest is history. Six years later the couple married and have been happily married now for sixty years currently living on their Century Farm.

In 1940 while working for his uncle, Warren received a whopping forty cents an hour for a fifty hour week, with no coffee breaks. "I got $20 a week and was glad to get it," Warren said.

Hope and Warren are the parents of two children, Ted of Mt. Pleasant and Luann of Rosebud, Arkansas. They have two granddaughters, Wendy Alderson and Courtney Cockayne. They also have a great-grandson, Kaleb Alderson in Searcy, Arkansas.

Warren had many interesting stories and photos of Crooked Creek. They have seen it at its high and also dry. He shared a story that on August 23, 1943 in the night the area received 13 inches of rain. "That was the highest I've ever seen the Creek," said Warren. "Harry Rossiter had bundles of oats in shocks drying out. We saw them floating down Crooked Creek with birds sitting on top of them. It was quite a site." While the creek has never reached their home, it has come close enough.

In his younger years, Warren was a member of the Cockayne Orchestra. Members of the orchestra were his mother, Gertrude, at the piano, brother John on "any string instrument he wanted to play," and Warren. Charlie Moody joined the orchestra in 1943. "We made music and played for dances," related Warren. Hope was always at his side as they traveled from Mt. Pleasant, to Salem, to Mt. Union, to Winfield and on and on and on for 22 years.

As Warren and Hope do each year, they attended the Winfield-Mt. Union Alumni Banquet. Warren commented that there were six members of his original class present, Sterling Kongable, Dale Johnson, Dick Palm, Lois Ross Kramer, Doris Haines Glover and Warren. Thanks to their son, Ted, who was also attending, The Class of 1941 was also recognized.

Warren has been a Mason for 61 years. Warren and Hope are both 50+ members of the Winfield Presbyterian Church and Warren has served in all of the offices of the church. Warren has also served on the Sunrise Terrace Care Center Board, an originator of Westview Apartments; a director for the Farmers Coop, and a Township Trustee.

Warren had two brothers, John and Lorain both now deceased.

"We feel it is an honor (to be selected) for us old fogies," Warren commented. "We actually had never given it a thought."

But, a good choice it is and we welcome Warren and Hope Cockayne into the small circle of honorees.