"And this is the will of him who sent me, that I shall lose none of all that he has given me, but raise them up at the last day. For my Father's will is that everyone who looks to the Son and believes in him shall have eternal life, and I will raise him up at the last day. " -John 6:39-40
‘Sunshine’ is what she was called by her sorors, child of God is how she’s known by Our Father, but we all knew her as mom, sis, aunt, cousin, teacher and friend.
Tonya was born February 28, 1954 to the late Francis Baker Cobb, Sr. and Ella Mae Cobb of Montclair, New Jersey. At a young age, she joined Union Baptist Church of Montclair, under the leadership of the late Rev. D. C. Rice. Prior to graduating from Monclair High School in 1972, Tonya participated in various activities. Some of these included student government, dance, and tailoring. She enjoyed sewing and clothing design. Tonya went on to graduate from Hampton (Institute) University in 1976, with a BS degree in Education. While there, she actively participated in academic and social events. She also pledged Alpha Kappa Alpha Sorority, Inc. As a member, she was able to exercise her love of sisterhood to the fullest. Since she was always smiling, upbeat, lively and energetic, her line name was ‘Sunshine‘.
After graduation, she worked as a 2nd grade teacher at Princess Anne Elementary in Virginia Beach, where she enthusiastically engaged in the learning process of her students. She eagerly encouraged students to put their best foot forward and inspired parents to support the learning process, regardless of the child’s skill level.
Tonya met and married Edward Cochran. From this union were born two sons, Derrick and Michael. She was a dedicated mom who loved and cherished her sons. Spending time with them meant the world to her. She joined Union Baptist Church in Virginia Beach, under the Pastoral guidance of Rev. W. Samuel Walton.
She also worshipped, engaged in prayer, and fellowshipped at Vineyard and Ebenezer Baptist Churches. Although the Lord was her first love, her new grandson (Jeffrey) was a close second.
Even though Tonya was deeply saddened having to retire from teaching after 18 years, due to health issues, she continued to support and volunteer whenever she could. Her love for her students was perpetual as she would often see some of her adult students and greet them with a hug and still tell them how proud she was of them. Tonya often boasted that as a teacher “she had the best students in the world!” Receiving The honor of becoming “Teacher of the Year” was icing on the cake. Before she became limited by her illness, she was active in the community and in the Alpha Kappa Alpha graduate chapter in Virginia Beach.
Tonya is survived by her sons Derrick and Michael, grandson Jeffrey, brother Francis Cobb, Jr, sister Cheryl (Cobb) Iton, a nephew, nieces, and a host of other dearly loved family members and friends.
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