Cherice Amanda Cochrane


  Born  May 15, 1981 ~  Heaven Bound March 21,2001

Happy Birthday my darling daughter. Today, you would
have been 25 and getting ready to start Medical

Sorry to say your dad passed away and will be joining
you in heaven.


Mom, Camille, Michael, Grandma and Riley


This is usually how I spend my nights, crying myself to sleep, thinking of
my daughter, Cherice Amanda Cochrane, who died on March 21, 2001, in her sleep, from Meningitis at Tulane University. This year was rough for me.

You see she would have turned 21, graduated from Tulane and on her way to Medical School. 

 I have severe rheumatoid arthritis and she was suppose to take care of me.

Cherice was an exemplary student, a gifted child, an overachiever and a healthy young woman who did not smoke, do drugs or misused her body.

She was the epitome of excellence and everything she aspired to be she achieved it. She was a Girl Scout Gold Award recipient and the National Top Teens of America, United Way Outstanding Youth, HOSA Outstanding student, an Emerging Young Leader, Founder/Publisher, “Me and My Mentor.”

 March 20, 2001    

Seth Diggs, Cherice’s boy friend was visiting Cherice from Stanford University.

She didn’t come home for Spring break because we planned to meet in Oklahoma that Wednesday to attend the NAACP Regional Conference. I had sent her an e-ticket and was looking forward to seeing her

March 21, 2001                                                        

It was 11:30am at S.H. Gates Elementary school. I had just picked up my energetic first grade students from lunch and was heading back to the classroom when I was beckoned to the office by one of my colleagues.

She said, “The secretary needs to see you in the office.” I was wondering, what would she want at 11:00am. Did I forget to turn in my attendance? I went to the office and she said.” Mrs. Lewis I think you better take this phone call in the Principal’s Office.” I sat down in the chair and took the phone. At the other end of the receiver a male voice asked, “Is your name Claudette Lewis, do you have a daughter, name Cherice Cochrane who attends Tulane University?” I answered yes to his questions. “Well mam, I am calling from the morgue and we have your daughter here.” I was dazed but not alarmed. Why, because Cherice had done this exercise in 1999 when she participated in “Mothers’ Against Drunk Driving.” She not only played “dead” but spent the night in the morgue. There she wrote me a letter which was sealed and I had to write her one. I then answered. “What is she doing there, volunteer work?” The man said “No mam, we found her dead this morning in her bed in the dorm at Tulane University.” My whole world turned upside down. No this can’t be I spoke to her in the week. We were suppose to go to Oklahoma to the NAACP Regional Conference. I hung up the phone and the next call was from the University. I was outraged. I asked Dr. Eckerd, why did they notify me in this manner? I was already experiencing pain from my arthritis and fatigue. She advised me that it was the law in New Orleans to be notified by the morgue first.

The school did not offer to fly me down to New Orleans, They didn’t care how I was going to handle the news or take care of  funeral expenses without insurance. They offered to ship her body in a pine box to Lewis Funeral home.

A parent and some students came to the funeral. They had a memorial for her. Camille and her friend attended. I did not care to attend.

Her belongings were shipped home. I donated all 11 boxes to Goodwill. I refused to view her body. I wanted to remember her the way she was, young vibrant, with a bright future ahead of her. The next couple of days were a nightmare. I went to my job hoping to secure her rider on my policy to bury her. The clerk informed me, I had not elected a child rider. Cherice had no life insurance that I could put my hand on. I sent the word out to the Black community. No flowers, instead send donation to the Credit Union. We buried Cherice with the love and support from the San Antonio community. Later on I located a $10,000 policy that I had a hard time convincing the insurance company to release. We waited at least 4 months for an investigator to interview me to determine, no fowl play.

I was told by her room mate, Dana Campbell that she was not feeling well so she went to the infirmary. They sent her back to the dorm and was told to drink plenty of fluid and take some Tylenol. The morning she was found dead in her bed. Dr. Kirby the visiting physician diagnosed it as the flu. How could they not have known it was meningitis. After all they had a death in 1996.

Eight months after Cherice’s death, another student died  from Meningitis at Tulane University and the first death was a young man in 1996.          

Thanks for letting me share my story,

Love, Claudette Lewis, Cherice's mom

Send Cherice a message, or a poem or light a candle for her

        See Cherice's Quilt at

Life of An Angel



This is a picture of all my friends from San Antonio chillin' at Jim's Restaurant. From left to right they are: Ross, Laura, Marques, Judi, Kristie, and Teresa. Notice the dramatic change in Ross's appearance compared to the picture to the right.



                      WIND BENEATH MY WINGS

Oooh, oh, oh, oh, oooh...
It must have been cold there in my shadow
To never have sunlight on your face
You were content to let me shine, that's your way
You always walked a step behind

So I was the one with all the glory
While you were the one with all the strain
A beautiful face without a name for so long
A beautiful smile to hide the pain

Did you ever know that you're my hero
And everything I would like to be?
I could fly higher than an eagle
For you are the wind beneath my wings

It might have appeared to go unnoticed
But I've got it all here in my heart
I want you to know I know the truth
Of course I know it
I would be nothing without you

Did you ever know that you're my hero
And everything I would like to be?
I could fly higher than an eagle
For you are the wind beneath my wings

Fly, fly, fly away, you let me fly so high.
Oh, fly, fly, so high against the sky,
So high I almost touch the sky.
Thank you, thank you, thank you, God, for You are
The wind beneath my wings.

--Bette Mittler


                                           Notes to Cherice


 Cherice, through the eyes and heart of your mom, I have come to know a beautiful young woman, with love and passion for her fellow man and life. I think you will be the wind beneath all of our wings for a life time. May you rest in the Love of Jesus. Your mom is not alone. She has a new family brought together by angels who abide behind the gates of Heaven.  Please hug Ryan for me and tell him I love him. Frankie, Ryan's MOM

I have lighted a candle in memory of you on your birthday, you will be thought of always, Barbara


Happy birthday beautiful Cherice.  Heaven is a much brighter place with you there and I know God has put you in charge of organizing our Angels. This day I will lift you mom up to the Father and ask God to let her have a peace that only He can give.  Frankie, Ryan's mom


To Cherice and Her Loving Family--
We are thinking of you and hope that you will find peace in your hearts.  May you find joy in all of your good times and memories.  Claudette, Cherice will always be with you.
--Patty & Tom

God Bless Cherice on this day... and God Bless Claudette and help her to remember the joy that Cherice brought into her life and help her through what has to be a difficult time........Sherri Smith

Dearest Claudette, please know you and your family are in my thoughts and prayers on this three year anniversary of Cherice's passing.
Lenora (Nina)
Amy's sister, HB 11-13-03

Precious Cherice,

Happy Birthday Angel Girl.  I'm sure you're having a party with all
of the Angels today.  Wish you could have been here with us, but we
know one, we'll see you again...and that'll be FOREVER!  :) 

Faithful Daughter Lana 2004

Angel2i Happy birthday beautiful girl. I know there is great celebration in Heaven....Tell Bear hello and I love him. 2004

Happy Birthday, Cherice!  I'll bet all of heaven is celebrating with you!
Claudette, you're in my prayers.  My heart aches for you. 2004

My Dearest Cherice, 2004

I know that the angels are watching over you as you
celebrate your 23rd birthday. It has been hard for me
to still image you gone. I think about you constantly
and cherish every moment we share. Sleep peacefully my

Love Mom


I can only guess that God needed you more.  You mean such to so many. A giant void that can't be filled.

Ever lasting peace.

Ken, Gloria, Phill