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Born July 24, 1926 in Brooklyn and raised in the Bronx, died April 2, 2015 in Evanston, Illinois. Survived by Lisa, his wife of 65 years, four sons, Matthew, Jonathan, Shaul and Ethan, and their families.
Mr. Cohen was a man of enormous energy, which he poured into his work, his community, and his children. He was a gifted teacher and therapist , an avid learner and reader, and a man of insatiable curiosity. His early days were typical of the time, marked by poverty and buoyed by community as he grew up with his sisters Arlene and Edith under the firm hand of their parents, Israel and Rose.
He studied sociology at the City College of New York, and got a Master’s degree in social work from Columbia University. He and Lisa were married in 1949 and left shortly thereafter for a new life in Chicago. For the next decade Mr. Cohen worked as a community organizer and social worker in many capacities, and later became a faculty member at the University of Chicago School of Social Service Administration. He was also involved in the Child Therapy Program at the Institute for Psychoanalysis. During his time there, Mr. Cohen pioneered the “generalist sequence,” a new approach to teaching social work students. He also developed a field work program that placed social work students in the community, first in Woodlawn and Cabrini-Green and then in Evanston.
After leaving the University of Chicago, he served on the faculty at the Illinois School for Clinical Social Work. Over the course of his career, he also held a variety of positions with Jewish social service organizations and served for a time as the assistant director of the Family Service Agency of Lake County.
The family moved from Hyde Park to Evanston in 1960, and Mr. Cohen was active in many facets of community life there. In his later years, he consulted pro bono for the Pope John School and Youth Organizations Umbrella.
Throughout his life, Mr. Cohen was a devoted athlete. In to his 70s, he spent many hours running along the Evanston lakefront. Above all, he was devoted to his family and spent many happy hours in the parks of Evanston and elsewhere with his children and grandchildren.