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1931 - 2014

Donald M. Cohen, M.D. (PATH ’63)

Donald M. Cohen, M.D., cherished husband, beloved father and grandfather, succumbed to complications of pneumonia Tuesday evening, Dec. 2, 2014. Dr. Cohen was 83 years old. Memorial service: 3 p.m. Friday at Beth-El Congregation, 4900 Briarhaven Road. Dr. Cohen will be laid to rest privately in the Beth-El Section of Greenwood Memorial Park. Following the religious service, the family will receive visitors in the Gathering Area of the temple. Honorary bearers will be Bernie Appel, John Armstrong, M.D., Jerry Berkowitz, David Cristol, M.D., Jack Gerrick, Stan Kurtz, M.D., Joe Louis, M.D., Herman Morris and David Singer. Memorials: In lieu of flowers, the family suggests expressions of sympathy be made in honor of Donald M. Cohen, M.D., to Historic Fort Worth Inc., 1110 Penn St., Fort Worth, Texas 76102; The Fort Worth Opera, 1300 Gendy St., Fort Worth, Texas 76107; or the Jewish Federation of Fort Worth & Tarrant County, 4049 Kingsridge Road, Fort Worth, Texas 76109.

Donald Mortimer Cohen was born to Sidney Cohen, D.D.S., and Belle Silverman Cohen, R.N., on March 3, 1931, at North Philadelphia Jewish Hospital where both parents trained. Don was raised in Stroudsburg, Pa., and attended Stroudsburg High School. He earned a B.S. in biology at Moravian College in Bethlehem, Pa., where he was a member of Omicron Gamma Omega fraternity; president of Rho Alpha Epsilon honorary science fraternity; Pi Delta Epsilon honorary collegiate journalism fraternity; German Club; Student Senate; Social Activities Club; cartoonist for the weekly newspaper and yearbook; elected to “Who’s Who in American Colleges and Universities”; Varsity “M” and Manager’s Club; manager for football, baseball and basketball; and trainer of a greyhound, the Moravian College mascot. Don received his medical degree from the University of Pennsylvania and was commissioned a lieutenant in the U.S. Army Medical Corps upon graduation in June 1956.

In August 1955, he married Judith Singer of Philadelphia, whom he had met through family friends in 1953. The young couple headed west to William Beaumont Army Hospital at Fort Bliss, El Paso, where Don began an Army residency in obstetrics and gynecology. Don and Judy welcomed their first child, Daniel, in June 1957. Because he loved to travel, Don requested a transfer to a European Army post after 13 months “on the job training” in OB/GYN in El Paso. He was assigned to a station hospital in Furth, Germany, a suburb of Nuremburg, where he completed the remaining 13 months of his service with the U.S. Army Medical Corps. Don and Judy traveled throughout Germany and were able visit East Germany (Berlin), France, Italy, Austria and Scandinavia, and fly to Israel for a religious retreat. While in Nuremberg, Don photographed historic architecture at every opportunity and learned to develop and print his own negatives.

Following completion of his Army service in 1959, Don began a residency in pathology at the Mayo Clinic in Rochester, Minn. While at the Mayo Clinic, Don and Judy welcomed two more children, Diana “Dede” (1959) and Steven (1961). In order to help support his growing family, Don retained his Army commission and served as an active member of the Minnesota National Guard to augment his Mayo fellowship monthly stipend of $200. Don arrived in Fort Worth in October 1963 and joined Charles B. Mitchell, M.D., and John Alexander, M.D., to become the third member of a new pathology group at Harris Methodist Hospital. At that time, Harris Hospital was evolving into “a specialist’s hospital,” and the “new” Mayo Clinic frozen tissue technique that Don brought to Harris was a welcome addition. Don practiced 37 years with Pathology Associates at Harris Hospital and another 10 years for ProPath Laboratories with David Brigati, M.D. He retired in 2007.

Don was a man of many talents, hobbies and passions, but his most outstanding characteristics were his intelligence, honesty and integrity. Intellectual and cultured, he was humble nevertheless. He never met a stranger and could strike up a conversation with just about anybody about anything and make them feel his equal. His quick wit and sometimes sharp, dry sense of humor were enjoyed by friends and family. He was an animal lover who never met a dog that he didn’t like, or one that didn’t like him. He was a confident, positive force that inspired his family to be the best they could be. He was of strong moral, ethical and religious fiber. Despite major medical challenges in the past 10 years, he never complained or gave up. He continued to live his life to the fullest to be an amazing role model for his children and grandchildren.

He especially loved sports and exercise, and was an avid runner before it was “cool,” often drawing curious or suspicious looks as he jogged around the Overton Park and Westcliff neighborhoods in his tennis clothes and Hush Puppies (before the invention of running shoes). Early on, he was often stopped by police and questioned about why he was running around the neighborhood. He completed many marathons, played tennis, hiked, skied, swam daily for many years and cycled regularly on the Trinity Bike Trails. Don and Judy’s fourth child, Jordana “Dana,” was born in 1965. One of Dana’s earliest memories is of being strapped into a baby seat behind her dad as he pedaled up the extremely steep, two-stage hills of Ranch View Road. When the Cohen children were small, Don and Judy would pack their station wagon and drive 15 hours straight for two-week visits with grandparents in Stroudsburg in the Pocono mountains of Pennsylvania and in Margate City on the Jersey Shore. Later, Don planned family camping trips to state parks, Indian reservations and historic sights throughout Texas, Colorado and New Mexico. One of the most memorable and challenging family outings Don planned was an 11-day rafting trip down the Colorado River to experience the Grand Canyon. Don made many close friends on the 15 overseas bike trips he attended that followed annual Mayo Clinic international pathology seminars. And in 2013, a group of 30 Mayo Clinic biking buddies came to Fort Worth to bike the Trinity Trails and honor Don on his 82nd birthday with the Don Cohen Friends & Family Bike Ride.

Don was an accomplished artist, cartoonist and photographer. His beautiful black and white architectural photographs constitute a major part of “Cowtown Moderne: Art Deco Architecture of Fort Worth, Texas,” written by his wife, Judith Singer Cohen. Don was a voracious reader who enjoyed a wide range of literature including works of fiction, science, art, architecture and history. He was especially interested in biblical, Holocaust and World War II history. He was an adventurous world traveler who appreciated historic architecture and knew the value of historic preservation. With his zest for life, he never stopped living life to its fullest and enriching himself and, in turn, those around him. Judy shared his love of visual and performing arts, and together, they were frequent visitors to performance venues and museums around the world.

Don served as a board member of Trinity Valley School, Harris Hospital medical staff, Fort Worth Club of Internists, MidCities Pathology Study Group, Congregation Ahavath Sholom, Jewish Federation of Fort Worth and Tarrant County, and the Fort Worth Opera. Above his personal and professional accomplishments, Don was most proud of his wife, four children and nine grandchildren. He was a wonderful son, loving husband, father, grandfather, father-in-law and friend.

The Cohen family is indebted to the doctors and nurses of Harris Hospital’s Bloxum Tower Medical/Surgical ICU for the exceptional skilled care they provided for Don during his illness. Survivors: In addition to his wife of 59 years, Judith, Don is survived by his son, Daniel Cohen, M.D., and daughter-in-law, Jane, of Yardley, Pa.; daughter, Diana “Dede” and son-in-law, Brian Kaplan, M.D., of Houston; son, Steven Cohen and daughter-in-law, Amy, of Arlington; daughter, Jordana “Dana” Cohen-Paine, M.D., and son-in-law, Bill Paine, of Plano; grandson, Andrew Kaplan of Fort Worth; granddaughter, Joanna Kaplan of Houston; grandsons, Ben Cohen of New York City and Greg Cohen of New Orleans, La.; grandsons, Kevin, Jeffrey and Samuel Berk of Plano; granddaughter, Sarabelle Berk of Plano; grandson, Will Cohen of Arlington; and Bridget, his loving canine companion and “littlest girl.”

Obituary courtesy of Legacy.com.