Linda Louise (Pflanz) Cocking

22 August, 19451 September, 2020

Linda Louise Cocking passed gently and peacefully at 3:00 AM on September 1, 2020. Her husband, Dean, who survives, was with her for the last months and minutes of a multiyear fight with a complex of serious health conditions.

She was born in New Hartford, NY to Edward and Ellen Pflanz and married Dean, the son of Alice and Floyd Cocking of San Diego, CA just over 52 years ago.

Linda graduated from St. Lukes Hospital School of Nursing and was an operating room nurse in Utica NY while her future husband was teaching at the local community college. A little over a year later they married and took up residence in New Brunswick NJ while he completed a PhD in Ecology. Those additional four years of nursing led Linda to a ‘retirement in Harrisonburg’ that lasted for 46 years while Dean was a biology faculty member at JMU. Both of the mothers ultimately joined them in Harrisonburg as members of the Sunnyside Retirement Community.

There are no siblings on either side, and in addition, no children. Linda was preceded in death by four aunts, Katherine Straub, Margaret Cogetto, Joan Williams and Alice Rigaud, and an uncle “Bud” Williams. She is survived by five female cousins, AnnaMarie, Greschen, Yvette, Suzie, and Vaye Ann, and she is related to five additional male cousins. Two of her great loves were animals (particularly dogs including 2 English Springer Spaniels) and flowers. Over the years Linda enjoyed hiking, music, traveling (never enough she would say) and numerous ‘mini’ collections, and projects for our house and yard. She had a thoughtful and compassionate outlook on life. Linda and Dean lived an integrated lifestyle and spent virtually all of their free time sharing a diversity of experiences. Linda will be greatly missed. At present no service or visitation in Harrisonburg is planned due to the need for avoiding group assembly during the pandemic.

Online condolences may be left for the family at

Due to the 14 day isolation period for visitors to New York State, a post COVID-19 graveside ceremony will occur at a later date within her family plot at Crown Hill Cemetery in Clinton, NY.

In lieu of flowers, contributions in Linda's name may be made to the Sentara-RMH Hahn Oncology Center.


  • Sentara RMH


  • Graveside Ceremony At A Later Date


Linda Louise (Pflanz) Cocking

have a memory or condolence to add?

BillandDeanna Shoemaker

12 September 2020

We’re were sorry to hear about Linda. Our sympathies to you. We will miss the dinner and Christmas Eve Dinner get-togethers.

Gilbert Trelawny

5 September 2020

I was sorry to hear of Linda's passing. You have my deepest sympathy. Let the good memories help you through this difficult time.

Michael and Violet Allain

5 September 2020

Dear Dean,
We were very sorry to hear of Linda's passing. Our sincerest sympathy to you during this difficult time.

Mike and Violet

Anne Nielsen

4 September 2020

Dean, I'm so sorry. I'm glad I saw you and Linda leaving Sentara months ago, and was able to at least say hello. When we were all pretty new to JMU, Peter and I enjoyed getting to know you both.
I sympathize now with your loss. Anne Nielsen

Dean Cocking

4 September 2020

Obituary submitted to the Utica Observer-Dispatch, Utica, New York

Johnathan Walker

4 September 2020

Linda was the sweetest person who cared deeply for the blooms in her yard. She was especially kind, even to my overly enthusiastic and sometimes scary dog Bailey. It was clear how she loved dogs; even my unruly one.
At the wedding reception of one of Dean's students, Mac Vaught and his bride Maria 5 years ago, I remember the Anniversary Dance with Dean and Maria having a long dance embrace (at that time 48 years).
Heartfelt condolences to you Dean. Linda will be deeply missed.

Kelly Wood

2 September 2020

Oh sweet Linda, I'm so happy I was able to have one last chat with you a couple weeks ago. Thank you for allowing me to and to be able to say goodbye. I will miss your sweet face saying "hello" when I saw you come in! You also said to me "thank you for being my friend" and Linda I want to thank you for allowing me to be your friend - as I am so thankful to have had you as mine. Rest in Peace sweet one! Until we meet again....❤

Chris Lantz

2 September 2020

Dean, I'm so sad to hear of Linda's passing. She was always very kind to me when our paths crossed, usually at a restaurant. My wife Rachel would always comment about how you two were a lovely couple. Please don't hesitate to let me know if you need anything and/or would like to get together over a meal to chat sometime. I miss our conversations we had at JMU.


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