Thursday, January 10, 2019

Dr. Abraham Cohen, Ph.D., R.I.P.

I just learned that our friend and mentor, Dr. Abraham Cohen, Ph.D. has died.  Abe was a model mensch, a retired professor and psychologist who studied under Abraham Maslow.

Abe taught me so much.  Abe had a wonderful life and was a treasured member of our community here in St. Augustine.  He was a WWII Army Air Corps Captain of B-17s, who helped bomb Munich.  He flew numerous graves registration missions, carrying dead soldier's bodies after the war.  After his military service, Abe drove a cab and earned his degrees on the G.I. Bill of Rights.

My heart goes out to his family at the loss of their father and grandfather.

Abe meant so much to me -- he was a friend, a mentor, a mensch.

He lived a wonderful life and helped so many people. We will miss him greatly.

From the St. Augustine Record:

January 1, 2019 Abraham Cohen, 92, died at home. In the 1930s Abe survived polio at the age of eight. He received Sister Kenny treatments and was well enough at the age of fifteen to swim for the Catholic swim team and become a lifeguard in Coney Island and Brighton Beach. He enlisted early in the Army, later in the Army Air Corps, with his parents' permission. He flew B17s in Europe until the end of WWII, when he was reassigned to flying VIPs and graves registration. His stories from the post war period are legend among his family and friends. When he returned to the US, he finished high school then attended Brooklyn College and CCNY on the GI Bill, also driving a cab to make ends meet. His degree there was in physics. He was married to his first wife, Alice Sheff, who recently predeceased him, and they moved together to Levittown. There he continued his education while his wife was teaching and earned his PhD in psychology. He and Alice divorced in 1963. In 1964 he married June Elsie Bayard, at teacher, whom he had met while working as a school psychologist at the Howell Road School in Valley Stream. After their daughter was born, Abe and June moved to Hempstead. Abe went on to teach at Adelphi University, there starting We Care and Psychological Services. He also had a private practice in his house, and served as co director for the Drug Commission in East Meadow, NY. Abe worked so very hard all of his life, rising at six am six days a week and coming home most weeknights at ten o'clock. He never missed a Sunday with his daughter, taking her to museums, or flying. In 1983, Abe retired and moved to St Augustine, FL. June followed him after finishing her pension a few years later. They had many happy years together here, and they both became vital members of their community. They were active members of the Unitarian Fellowship, and Abe loved his discussion groups, many of which will be very fondly remembered by his friends. In 2011 June began a long illness. Abe stepped right up to the plate and took loving care of her and charge of all her affairs. He was a tremendous comfort and source of strength to all during that time. During his last years, Abe suffered from severe copd, some memory loss, a renal tumor, and sick sinus syndrome. He lived with his daughter, and despite the kind, gentle attempts by his good friends he was not persuaded from the haven of his home often. He did like to go to Walmart on the weekends, and got much love from the staff there when he arrived and checked out.  
Abe is predeceased by June, Alice, his parents, Manya and Louis Cohen, his sister Doris Sager, his nephew, Bill Bayard, his grand nephew, Billy Bayard. He is survived by his daughter, Jean Harris-Letts, MD of St Augustine, his granddaughter, Eve Letts of Gainesville, his sister in law, Marion Payne, his nieces and their husbands, Susan Bayard Whiting, Bob Whiting, Patricia Bayard, Vincent Jockimo, Maggie Bayard. He also is survived by his many dear friends.
In lieu of gifts or flowers it is requested donations be made in his name to the following causes/charities: Unitarian Universalist Fellowship, St. Jude Children's Research Hospital, Metropolitan Museum of Art, Southern Poverty Law Center, ACLU.
Services are planned at graveside at Union Cemetary in Fort Edward, NY in August, 2019.
Published in St. Augustine Record on Jan. 10, 2019

Abraham Cohen

Abraham Cohen Obituary


helen.and said...

Rest in peace, Abe. Abe was our neighbor in Levittown for many years, and a good friend to our family. I was just thinking of him and am so sorry to hear the news of his passing, but indeed, a life well lived. Condolences to the Cohen family. -- Helen Andriette

Ed Slavin said...

Abe Cohen was a wonderful man. Thank you, Helen.