Mina S. Cohen (b. 1917) died on August 18, 2016, one month shy of her 99th birthday. She was vibrant and active until almost the very end of her life. She was a fiercely independent woman and a constant inspiration to those lucky enough to know her.
She was not famous or powerful but she was a proud product of the city she loved, and parents she adored. Her father, Louis E. Salmon was a lawyer and a poet. Her mother, Charlotte Blum, was one of the first women doctors to graduate from Cornell Medical School in the late 1890's.
Mina was a true New Yorker who feasted on New York’s endless cultural banquet of theater, lectures, concerts, movies and restaurants, stubbornly taking buses all over the City, because she regarded cabs as a needless expense. Her appetite mandated scheduling multiple events each day to satisfy her endless curiosity and zest.
Educated at Hunter College with a Master's degree in History from Cornell University, Mina taught history at the High School of Art and Design in NYC for over thirty-five years. Weekly, for years, she recorded readings for the blind. After retirement she tutored, English, and unofficially, navigating American culture, to a long series of recent immigrants, many of whom became her good friends.
She was an indefatigable researcher, first reader and editor for her late, beloved husband, Jerome B. Cohen, a Professor of Economics, Dean of the Business School and the first President of Baruch College, of several economics and finance textbooks, some of which are still in print.
Her interest in the world never faded. A lifelong learner, she took up piano, pottery and fly fishing in her 70’s. Mina finished her last and arguably best sculpture two months before she died. She began each day by devouring The Times, and teacher that she was, she forwarded countless articles to family and friends. She was an unreconstructed Roosevelt/Stevenson liberal who wore her politics on her sleeve. Once, when she and former Mayor Ed Koch were on treadmills side by side, at cardiac rehab, Koch asked how he had done. Mina told him that he was a good Congressman and a mediocre Mayor. She never minced words.
She loved to travel and to make new friends. As time passed and so many of her oldest friends died, she accumulated new, often younger friends, to whom she reportedly gave sage advice and for whom she was an excellent listener.
To Mina’s many devoted friends and treasured family no description is adequate. We have all lost a remarkable woman who will be sorely missed and who was truly loved.
She leaves behind her best friend and daughter, Carla Cohen Rudman, her son-in-law, John S. Rudman, Managing Director & Associate General Counsel, Bank Regulatory, Citigroup and her grandson, Oliver, the last of three, (Harry and Casey having already left us).
To anyone interested in doing so in her memory, she frequently donated to Meals on Wheels, Emily’s List, Southern Poverty Law Center and Doctors Without Borders.