Jerome Sanford Cohen was 87 at his death and resided at 750 S.E. Cary Parkway, Apartment 420, Cary, North Carolina, 27511 although his heart always remained in his true home and place of birth – Port Jervis, New York.
Jerry was a Port Jervis, New York native who affectionately referred to himself as a “wood chuck”. He graduated from Port Jervis high school in 1944 and went on to Syracuse University, graduating in 1948. Syracuse University became a part of Jerry and his family as all three of his children attended and graduated Syracuse and his grandchild Jonathan Cohen continues the tradition now.
He received his Juris Doctor degree from Brooklyn Law School in 1951. It while attending Brooklyn Law School that he met his wife and life-long love of 62 years, Zelda Paymer Cohen.
After graduating from Syracuse University and Brooklyn Law School and his time in the military, Jerry and Zelda returned to Port Jervis, New York, where Jerry’s family had lived for 140 years and began a country law practice. He founded the Port Jervis law firm of Cohen, Bavoso, Weinstein & Fox, where was senior partner until his retirement. Jerry later came out of retirement and became Of Counsel to the multi-state law firm of Weinstein & Schneider.
In 1970, he was elected as the first full time District Attorney in Orange County, New York’s history. He served with distinction during his tenure and then returned to the small town country practice that he loved. In his honor each year, the Orange County District Attorney will recognize one outstanding Assistant District Attorney who best embodies Jerry’s qualities of commitment, integrity and diligence. During his distinguished career, Cohen served as president of the Port Jervis Bar Association, Orange County Bar Association, and as the local delegate to the New York State Bar Association. He was also admitted to practice before the U.S. Supreme Court.
Although a very busy practioner, he always found time in his demanding schedule to give back to the community and he often provided pro bono work for less fortunate members of the community. A staunch advocate for education, Cohen was responsible for bringing advanced college courses from his alma mater, Syracuse University, to Port Jervis High School in the 1970s. The Syracuse Project Advance, which allows high school students to reduce college expenses by earning college credits, has benefited countless Port Jervis graduates. For this work, Cohen was inducted in the Port Jervis Hall of Fame.
Jerry served as an officer in the military intelligence branch for the United States Army and saw action during the Korean War. He was always extremely proud of his service to his country.
Jerry was active in community activities. He is a life member of the Roosa-Fleming VFW Post #161, a life member of the American Legion Auxiliary, 685 James C. Bilz, a life long member of the Elks, a life long Rotarian which recognized him as a Paul Harris Fellow of Rotary International and a member of the Jewish War Veterans. Jerry was active in numerous ways in his Temple including Past President of Temple Beth El in Port Jervis, New York. Jerry was a Member of Syracuse University Alumni Board of Directors and received the 1988 Syracuse University Alumni Award.
Jerry was pre-deceased by his mother, Pauline Kirshner, his father, Adolph Cohen and his brother, Harvey Cohen (1-18-1994). Zelda Cohen, his wife and life partner, currently resides in Cary, North Carolina. Jerry and Zelda have three loving children and their respective families, Jeff and Ellen Cohen living in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania and their four children, Paige, Elizabeth, Ben and Henry; Bryan Cohen living in Ft. Lauderdale, Florida and his two children, Jonathon and Jack; and Lisa and Lyndon Cooper living in Cary, North Carolina and their two children, Austin and Alex.
A funeral service will be held at Beth Shalom, 5713 Yates Mill Pond Rd, Raleigh, NC 27606, (919) 858-7777 at 10:00 am Tuesday, September 23, 2014, by Rabbi Ariel Edery. Interment will follow in the Raleigh Hebrew Cemetery, 450 N. State Street between Oakwood Avenue and Glascock Street in Raleigh, North Carolina. The family suggests that in lieu of flowers, memorials be made to the Jerome Cohen Memorial Fund at Waltonwood, 750 SE Cary Pkwy, Cary, NC, 27511. A Shiva service will be held at Lisa and Lyndon Cooper’s home at 7 p.m. on Tuesday, September 23, 2014. The family also is planning a Memorial Service in Port Jervis, New York.
Arrangements by Montlawn Funeral Home, Raleigh, NC. Condolences may be sent to the family at www.montlawn.com