Combat Photographer with Detachment 12, 601st Photo Squadron, at Nakhon Phanom Royal Thai Air Force Base, Thailand (NKP) and flew with 40th ARRS out of NKP.

~ Final Flight 18 May 2019 ~

James W. Cockerill, USAF
August 02, 1951 – May 18, 2019

James W. Cockerill
Caro, Michigan
Aug 2, 1951 – May 18, 2019 (Age 67)

James W. Cockerill of Caro, age 67, passed away at his home on Saturday, May 18, 2019, with his loving family by his side. Jim was born August 2, 1951, in Caro, the son of the late William E. and Margaret (Mathews) Cockerill.

He grew up in a military family and traveled the world with his parents and siblings, graduating from Cascade Senior High School in Everett, Washington with the Class of 1969. In 1970, Jim enlisted with the U.S. Air Force where he served in Thailand during the Vietnam War.

During his time in service to our country, he flew rescue missions that earned him three Silver Stars and the Distinguished Flying Cross. Upon his honorable discharge in 1974, Jim enrolled at the Rochester Institute of Technology in Rochester, New York where he would later earn an associate degree in medical photography. More than a degree, Jim also left with his college sweetheart, Kristina Schuhmann, whom he married shortly after on August 21, 1976, in Mayville. The couple moved to Chicago after the wedding and Jim began work at Loyola Dental School for 17 years before taking a position at Shriners Hospitals for Children – Chicago that would span the next 20. Jim and Kristina moved to Caro shortly after his retirement in 2015 to be closer to family.

Jim was an avid photographer and turned his lifelong love of the art into an occupation. He also enjoyed Formula 1 Racing, reuniting with old military friends, and his beloved Dachshund dogs that he had throughout his life.

Jim is survived by his wife of 42 years, Kristina Cockerill of Caro; four siblings and their spouses: Barbara and Richard Frank, Roxanne Hiser, Diane Credeur, F. Mark and Lisa Cockerill, all of Caro; and many nieces and nephews.

Funeral services will be held at 3 p.m. on Thursday, May 23, 2019, at the Ransford Collon Funeral Home in Caro with Revs. Gregory Deason and Joseph Berkobien officiating. Private interment will take place at the Rich Township Cemetery in Mayville. The family will be present to receive friends at the funeral home on Thursday from noon until the time of the service at 3 p.m.

Those planning an expression of sympathy may wish to consider memorial contributions to Shriners Hospitals for Children – Chicago or Kids Equipment Network (

The family was assisted with these arrangements by the Ransford Collon Funeral Home of Caro. Friends may share memories, thoughts and prayers online at

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