Robert Clinton Cockrill, born October 1, 1933, was the youngest of ten children born to Lemuel and Beatrice Cockrill; sharecroppers on the Chapman Ranch in South Texas. By age two, both parents had passed and he and his siblings were taken in by relatives. Robert, or Sonny as he was called, did not grow up with his 9 surviving brothers and sisters.
He was raised by Lucille (Lemuel’s sister) and Yewell Sights. Yewell worked in the oil field and traveled the country following work, but eventually ended up back in Texas. There, Sonny spent time on Uncle John B. Cockrill’s peanut and watermelon farm. He attended school in Kingsbury through eighth grade, and graduated from Freer High School.
He enlisted in the Navy in 1951 at age 17. He requested duty on a ship and he got it. After basic training, he was assigned to the USS Marsh; a destroyer escort. His first tour among many assignments was to Honolulu and made numerous stops at Midway Island. Each duty station lasted nine months to a year. His homeport was Yakuska, Japan but he also visited Sasebo, Yokohama, Guam and Hong Kong, proudly serving during the Korean War.
After discharge from the Navy, he stayed with his brother Wallace, and wife Margie in Corpus Christi and attended Texas A&I University in the Summers. Wallace paid for his tuition.
Sonny eventually returned to Kingsbury, Texas to visit his cousin Lizzie Mae Green. There, he was reacquainted with his first-grade sweetheart, Billie Ailene Murphy. They began dating and Sonny found work in the oil field.
Sonny and Billie fell in love and married July 2, 1955 in Seguin. They found a house in San Antonio where Sonny was able to find work at the SA City Public Service office. His supervisor, a graduate of Texas A&M University, was so impressed by Sonny’s abilities that he arranged for him to attend Texas A&M, so they moved to College Station, Texas around 1957.
Life was hard in College Station. Sonny took night classes studying Chemical Engineering, and worked two jobs to make ends meet. Billie was a homemaker and raised their daughter, Mona Dee.
Sonny continued to push himself to provide for his family, and eventually sought work with his brother-in-law, Denver O’Neal, as a flooring installer.
Over the years Sonny formed a partnership with Ray Williamson and opened up American Floors in Austin, Texas. Then in 1975 opened his own business, Accent Flooring. Soon Accent Flooring became one of the most prominent floor covering businesses in Texas; serving many clients such as AMD, Applied Materials, Samsung , and proudly the custom mosaic flooring in the Bob Bullock Museum.
In 1963, a second daughter was born, Terri Lynn. Sonny began to think more about how his own siblings were not raised together. He contacted and formed relationships with each of them, leading to many weekends full of conversation and laughter.
This drive to know his siblings lead him to start the “Cockrill” family reunion in 1978 on his ranch in Wimberley. His descendents can be grateful today for the relationships they have, due to Sonny’s love.
Sonny had a deep longing for the mountains and the outdoors. He spent years fostering family hunting activities and trips to his ranch in Lake City, Colorado and the ranch of his dear friend, Royce Faulkner. Many of his nephews learned to hunt and had great adventures due to his love of the outdoors.
Sonny and Billie were married for 50 years. Their life was full of travel to their ranch in the mountains, family, friends and children and grandchildren. In 2005 Billie was put to rest from the ravages of cancer and Sonny thought life was over.
There was more life in store for him. He fell in love with and married Valerie Lynn in February 2006. Along the way, when Mona and Terri would share the thrills of their trips to Cloudcroft, New Mexico – Sonny regained his love of life and the mountains. He and Lynn bought a place there and enjoyed years of pilgrimages to their second home in the mountains.
Sonny is survived by wife, Valerie Lynn.
Daughter, Mona Cockrill-Lind, son-in-law, Mike Massey, granddaughter, Jessica Massey and fiancé, Michael Morton.
Daughter, Terri Lynn Cockrill-Pace, granddaughter, Nikki Mills and boyfriend Cody Gault, great-grandson, Ro Clinton Gault.
Lynn’s children: Elaina Wilkins and husband, Chad, and their children, Blaire and Collin; Valerie Boyd and Paul Sutherland, and Valerie’s children, Maddox and Ryker; and Ryan Lumpp and fiance’, Mya Hutson.
Sonny’s sister, Norma Jean Clemons and many nephews and nieces.
Sister-in-law, Ilsa Cockrill.
Preceded in death by: His biological parents, Lemuel and Beatrice Gordon Cockrill; his adopted parents, Yewell and Lucille Sights; his sisters, Dorothy Anderson, Jewell Bonugli, and Marydell Bauer; brothers, Ward Cockrill, Donald Cockrill, Wallace Cockrill, J.B. Cockrill, and Warren Cockrill.
Honorary Pall Bearers: Royce Faulkner, Earl Kanetzky, Tom Bauer.
Pall Bearers: Daryl O’Neal, Charlie Cockrill, Carey Cockrill, Kenny Cockrill, Dale Newkirk and Stephen Newkirk.
Very special thanks to Gayle Newkirk for her loving efforts in keeping this entire family connected.
Services to be held at 1:00 pm, Friday, February 10, 2017 at Pennington Funeral Home, 323 North Comanche Street, San Marcos, TX 78666. Prior to the service, family will receive friends at 12:00 Noon. Reception to follow at 3:00 pm at Hill Country Event Center, 107 Center Point Rd, San Marcos, TX 78666.
Arrangements by Pennington Funeral Home, San Marcos, TX, 512-353-4311.
Russell and Pat RoperFebruary 8th, 2017 on 3:39 am
So sorry to hear about Sonny’s passing. Our condolences to the family.
Rose Pace & Luis RodriguezFebruary 8th, 2017 on 7:00 pm
So sorry to hear about pawpaw. Our sincerest sympathies to the whole family.
Sandy & Dee StokesFebruary 10th, 2017 on 1:49 am
Deepest sympathy for the loss of Sonny’s presence in this world – may the happy memories carry each family member through this time of sorrow and the promise through Christ of reunion with him one day.
John and Frankie Jim BockmanFebruary 11th, 2017 on 6:01 am
My husband and I loved Robert – he was a good, kind and thoughtful, funny individual! I went to Freer High School with Robert – he was liked by everyone – he was the Junior Class Favorite. He played football, basketball and ran track. Robert always had a big smile for everyone and a very positive attitude.I am glad he found Christ and is spending eternity with his and our Lord, Jesus Christ. I am also glad that Robert Clinton (Sights) Cockrill walked through my life! God Bless Him.And God Bless Lynn!
Larry GordonFebruary 11th, 2017 on 4:47 pm
Sorry to hear about Sonny’s passing.
Our sincerest sympathies to the whole family.
Briseidy CastanedaFebruary 16th, 2017 on 5:29 pm
My deepest condolence to you and your family in the death of your loved one. May the promises that God has for us help you endure. (Acts 24:15)