Ernest Allen "Ernie" Cohen

2014-01-10T00:00:00Z Ernest Allen "Ernie" CohenClassifieds Arizona Daily Star Arizona Daily Star
January 10, 2014 12:00 am  • 

Ernest Allen "Ernie" Cohen

passed away on Wednesday, January 8, 2014 in his home in Tucson, Arizona. Born May 24, 1937, Ernie was a dedicated husband, father, and grandfather. Originally from Brooklyn, he and his wife, Marsha, reared three children in Teaneck, New Jersey before moving to Tucson in 1986. In Teaneck he served as President of the Teaneck Political Assembly, a non-partisan organization, which worked for good government. He ran as a Democratic candidate for State Assembly in New Jersey, and although he lost the election, he beat his opponent, the mayor of Teaneck, in the town of Teaneck. Ernie and Marsha were avid travelers together, visiting six continents and over fifty countries. Ernie was a graduate of NYU's School of Commerce, now the Stern School, where he served as a student leader and delegate to the all-University Federation. He was a delegate to the National Students Association and attended its annual meeting in Minneapolis where he met his wife of 56 years, Marsha, who was a delegate from NYU's Washington Square College. He turned down Harvard Law School to stay in New York to attend New York University Law School where he graduated first in his class in 1959. He was an associate at Proskauer, Rose, Goetz, and Mendelsohn, and left after several years to found his own firm, Cohen and Berman, which later expanded and was recognized as one of the premier boutique law firms in New York. He was a champion of organized labor, and was recognized as a leading maritime labor attorney. He achieved the Bar Association rating of AV Preeminent, which was a testament to the fact that his peers ranked him at the highest level of professional excellence. He was counsel for the Radio Officers Union and the International Organization of Masters, Mates and Pilots. He was a delegate in International Maritime Organization of the United Nations. While in New York, he taught legal practice at NYU Law School. One snowstorm too many led Ernie and Marsha to move to Tucson, where he continued to practice law and travel extensively on behalf of maritime labor. He introduced a course in negotiations at the Rogers College of Law where he taught for several years. About 13 years ago, he began taking courses at the Osher Lifelong Learning Institute (OLLI) at the University of Arizona. Together with his law school classmates and close friend for years Ken Greenfield, he introduced a course on Great Trials of the Centuries, which continued to run for 12 years and was one of the most popular courses at OLLI. He was a strong supporter of the State of Israel, traveling there four times, and served as President of the Desert Caucus, the largest regional political action committee in the United States, which supports candidates for Congress who have a positive voting record with regard to the US-Israel relationship. Ernie is survived by his wife, Marsha, as well as their three children, Fern Billet of Philadelphia, PA, Dorrian Fragola and Saul Cohen, both of Boston, MA. Ernie also has six grandchildren, Lara and Zachary Billet, Remington and Nicholas Fragola and Josh and Noah Cohen. He was an avid hiker and founder of the group called the "Seekers." He loved to snorkel, and was devoted to his standard poodle, Annika. He doted on his six grandchildren, Lara and Zachary (Fern and Bob Billet), Remy and Nicholas (Dorri and Dean Fragola) and Josh and Noah (Saul and Jenai Cohen) and made frequent trips back east to celebrate birthdays and holidays. He and his wife took their grandchildren on trips to Europe, the Caribbean, Mt. Rushmore, Hawaii and Orlando. Ernie was an eternal optimist. A Memorial Service will be held at the Jewish Community Center at 3:00 p.m., on Friday, January 10, 2014. In lieu of flowers, contributions in his name may be made to the Jewish Federation or the Osher Lifelong Learning Institute at the University of Arizona. Arrangements by EVERGREEN MORTUARY & CEMETERY, www.evergreenmortuary-cemetery.com

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