Remembering Gerald Cobb

Gerald Wayne Cobb, Ed.D., lifetime educator and Ruston native, died July 18, 2022, of complications of heart and kidney disease.  He was 83 years old. 

Gerald was born on August 1, 1938, in Calhoun, Louisiana, the only child of Bill and Willie Cobb.  The family moved to Ruston the same year he started elementary school at Eastland.  He excelled in sports and “Skinny”, as he was known to his friends, was a favorite teammate on the sandlots. 

He began his freshman year in 1952 at Ruston High, starting a lifetime relationship with the Bearcats.  He was class president freshman and sophomore years, played football for Hoss Garrett, and starred as a catcher in baseball.  His greatest accomplishment was meeting the love of his life, Shirley Speights, and they were married eight months after graduation. 

Gerald loved athletics and wanted to make a career out of coaching and teaching.  He enrolled at Louisiana Tech in 1956 where he played baseball and graduated with a degree in physical education in 1960. 

After college Gerald was hired to be the basketball coach and to start a baseball program at Simsboro High School.  Although he didn’t play basketball in high school, Gerald quickly learned on the job and created an entertaining, fast-paced, pressure game that was rare in those days.  He earned respect from opposing coaches and dedication from the Tigers he coached during his 11-year career. 

In 1971 Gerald was named principal of Simsboro High, a position he held until 1975 when he left to earn a Doctor of Education from Northeast Louisiana in 1977.  He returned to Simsboro until 1978 when he was named principal at Ruston High.  He was principal at Ruston from 1978-80, moved to Baton Rouge as director of secondary education, followed by executive assistant to the superintendent of the Louisiana Department of Education from 1980-84, and returned to Ruston High in 1985.

Gerald was selected to be superintendent of Lincoln Parish Schools in 1988, a position he held for 15 years.  During his tenure Lincoln Parish ranked first in the state in ACT scores, first in percentage of students not needing college remediation classes, and first in National Merit Finalists at Ruston High among non-magnet schools. 

Gerald was president of the State Superintendents Association, was an executive committee member of the Louisiana High School Athletic Association, and served on the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools.  He was given the Distinguished Alumni Award from Ruston High, Education Alumnus of the Year at Louisiana Tech, and was inducted into the Louisiana High School Sports Hall of Fame in 2015. 

Gerald’s greatest love was for his family.  He spent countless hours throwing batting practice to his four sons, picking them up from practice, sitting in bleachers and concert chairs, and teaching them the value of fairness and hard work.  His marriage to Shirley remains a wonderful example for anyone fortunate enough to have known them. 

Gerald was predeceased by his parents and a son, Jerry.  He is survived by his wife of 65 years, Shirley; Sons, Patrick and his wife Carla of Billings, Montana, Ken and his wife Cindy of Asheville, North Carolina, David and his wife Donna of Kensington, Maryland; grandchildren Joel, Lauren, Garrett, Alex, Graham, and Eileen; and seven great grandchildren.

Services will be held at Temple Baptist Church in Ruston, Louisiana, at 10 am on Thursday, July 21, followed by a reception in the fellowship hall until 1 pm.  Honorary pallbearers will be Leon Barmore, Barry Canterbury, Tommy Canterbury, Bruce Cowan, Hoye Grafton, Tommy Gregory, Jap Gullatt, Billy Henderson, John Kyte, Jerry Lott, Jerome Vascocu, and James White.

Memorial donations may be directed to the Gerald and Shirley Cobb Professorship in Education,  Louisiana Tech University Foundation, PO Box 1190, Ruston, LA 71273, LaTechalumni.org. 

Online condolences may be extended to the family at http://www.kilpatrickfuneralhomes.com.

Kilpatrick Funeral Homes

Ruston, Louisiana


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