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Farewell to my dad, Cy Cohen

I’m so sad to write that my dad, Simon (“Cy”) G. Cohen, passed away on Saturday, March 20. We held the funeral the following Wednesday.

At the service, family and friends expressed warm memories of Dad, centering on his love for family and friends, lifetime of hard work in the grocery and wholesale food industries, and spirited sense of humor.

Previously, on January 8, Dad celebrated his 90th birthday. Family from across the country, along with friends here in the Chicago area, gathered for brunch on Sunday, January 10, to rejoice with him.

Dad was in the hospital in the days leading up to his party and his health was clearly on the decline. In fact, my brother Michael told Dad he had to live until his party, and Michael told all the medical personnel that Dad had to be released from the hospital the morning of the party. So Dad was sprung at about 10 am and prepared for his party.

At that time we shared stories and jokes, and our reminiscences were upbeat. (My husband Wayne captured the entire event on video.) As a result, our eulogies at the funeral were a little shorter. (Our family is rich in talkers.)

The funeral was in our hometown of Canton, OH, though Mom and Dad moved to a supportive living facility in Elk Grove Village, IL, back in 2006 to be closer to their children. So in my remarks I helped his lifelong friends catch up a bit on Dad’s final years:

Dad was generally gracious in the face of life’s final challenges. In his final weeks, he reflected on his life and told us it had been, all in all, a happy life with more good times than bad. That he had had a lot of fun but sometimes he had not realized how much fun he was having at the time.

He said that finding Mom was the best thing that ever happened to him. To put this in context, the Cohen’s are not a mushy bunch. So this is like Romeo standing under Mom’s balcony and reciting poetry.

When we went to visit Dad the day before he died, it was obvious he was in a lot of pain and suffering quite a bit. Yet through all of it, the most important thing for him was to reach out and hold Mom’s hand. Holding her hand was the comfort he was looking for at the very end and they held hands for quite some time. A very touching end to the long life of their marriage they shared together.

So now I’d like to say, Dad, I love you. Thank you for all your love and many happy memories.

Originally posted 3-30-10

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