Lomas, Anna Cochrane, 1896-1991
- Existence: 1896 - 1991
Anna Cochrane Lomas was born in Monroe, Iowa on June 25, 1896, the oldest child of William and Myrtle Murphy Cochrane. In 1900 her father moved the family to Red Oak, Iowa where he became a partner in his brother-in-law's business, the Thomas D. Murphy Art Calendar Company. Among his numerous community services, Cochrane served on the Iowa District Exemption Board for the Military Draft during the First World War. Anna Cochrane attended Red Oak public schools from 1902 to 1914 and the University of Iowa from 1914 to 1917. There she met Malcolm DeWitt Lomas of Villisca, Iowa, whom she married on December 27, 1917. The couple settled in Red Oak, where Malcolm managed the sales force for the Murphy calendar firm.
In 1926 William Cochrane ran successfully for state senate on a road improvement platform. He served in the General Assembly from 1927 to 1932. Toward the end of his political career, Cochrane began to lose his eyesight and his daughter Anna read to him political news, constituent correspondence, and other material necessary to his duties in the General Assembly. She credits this time with her father as the inspiration for her political career. William Cochrane became president and sole owner of the calendar company in 1931. When he died in 1941, Malcolm Lomas took over the firm.
As her children grew, Anna Lomas became increasingly involved in politics. During World War II she was active in local Republican women's clubs. She was a delegate to the State Republican Convention from the 1940s through the 1970s. Lomas served as an alternate to the Republican National Convention in 1944 and was a regular delegate to the National Convention in 1952, 1956, 1960, and 1964. She was a member of the State Republican Committee for the 7th Congressional District of Iowa from 1944 to 1952 and was Iowa Republican National Committeewoman from 1952 to 1964. Lomas served as a member of the White House Conference on Aging in 1961, was a curator of the Iowa Historical Society from 1946 to 1957 and 1962 to 1965, served in the Montgomery County chapter of the American Red Cross and was active in local church and youth groups throughout her life.
During her long career, Lomas remained active in Republican women's organizations. In the early 1950s the Republican party recognized the political potential of women and began to actively encourage their participation. Lomas believed that the Republican party was the party that best addressed women's issues and offered women the greatest opportunities for political involvement. She was not, however, afraid to point out when she thought the party was dragging its feet. In a handwritten memoir of her visit to Washington for the 1953 Presidential inauguration, she said of the Republican National Committee organization: "There is no doubt that men have complete control in the political field in spite of the fact that an estimate [sic] 52% of the vote was cast
by women." In a 1960 political speech, she urged women to become more politically active: "In the United States today women of voting age outnumber men by three million. They can shape this government in any way they choose." Lomas was always politically conservative but that never meant to her that women should not be involved in the world in any way that they were able.
Anna Lomas died on September 30, 1991 in Red Oak, Iowa at the age of 95.