Sept. 14, 2018
NCHV is deeply saddened to announce the passing of Brigadier General (Ret.) Robert A. Cocroft, a man who spent his life serving his country and his fellow veterans. His dedication to veterans was exemplified throughout his career, and NCHV is particularly grateful for his longstanding friendship and partnership in our national efforts to end veteran homelessness, including serving as a long-time member of the NCHV Board of Directors.
BG Cocroft was the President and CEO of the Center for Veterans Issues, Ltd. (CVI), a nonprofit organization that provides advocacy, services and housing to low-income, homeless, minority and women veterans and their families. CVI is the largest private provider of transitional housing and permanent supportive housing earmarked for veterans in the State of Wisconsin. BG Cocroft also served as the past National Commander of the National Association for Black Veterans, Inc. NABVETS is certified by the Department of Veterans Affairs to provide claims representation and has chapters in over seventy 70 locations. As President and CEO of the America’s Freedom Center Foundation, Incorporated, from 2002 to 2004, BG Cocroft oversaw all aspects of the operation to include capital campaign fundraising for the construction of “America’s Freedom Center,” an interactive facility designed to present the story of veterans and their contributions to America’s freedoms.
BG Cocroft served as the Deputy Secretary of the Wisconsin Department of Veterans Affairs between 1994 and 2002. He had the overall responsibility for the Department’s day-to-day operations, which included administration and management of 900 full-time employees, five loan programs, eight grant programs, a 750-bed skilled nursing care facility, and departmental administrative services. As a member of the senior management team within the Department, he coordinated and directed strategic planning and program development. Also with the Department, BG Cocroft administered primary mortgage home loan programs, home improvement loan programs, an economic assistance loan program, a second mortgage loan program and eight grant programs.
BG Cocroft’s educational achievements include earning a Bachelor of Science degree in Agriculture Business Management and a Master’s degree in Public Policy, both from the University of Wisconsin-Madison. In addition, he was a graduate of the prestigious U.S. Army War College at Carlisle Barracks, Pennsylvania.
BG Cocroft was a Vietnam-era veteran with overseas duty in the Republic of Korea. He had 40 years of active and reserve service. He is survived by his wife, two children, and numerous grandchildren.
“What I truly admired about Bob was the meaning and purpose he gave to his life through the service he gave to the veterans he helped. One of the characteristics of truly good men and women is their unfailing desire to bring good meaning and good purpose into situations that are very difficult and often chaotic. This was the situation with the lack of affordable housing for veterans in Milwaukee and in the State of Wisconsin. This was the challenge Bob spent his life meeting,” said Charles “Chick” Ciccolella, Chair of the NCHV Board of Directors.
“To accomplish what Bob did in his military life, in his time at NABVETS, and later during his time at CVI took great faith, courage, and much sacrifice – but Bob knew that it mattered. That gave great meaning to Bob’s life and the lives of so many veterans who benefited from his dedication and service to them.”
He leaves behind a strong legacy of service that improved the lives of thousands of veterans, and will truly be missed. We extend our sincere condolences to his family, his staff at CVI, and all of those who had the honor of knowing him.