Obituaries


Judge Simon S. Cohen
COHEN, Judge Simon S. "Si" Judge Simon S. Cohen of Winchester Drive, West Hartford, a legendary state jurist, died on Sunday, (February 10, 2008) of natural causes, 12 days before his 99th birthday, while vacationing in Boca Raton, FL. Si, as his friends called him, was born on February 22, 1909, in Norfolk, VA, as the second youngest of three children, the other two of whom are deceased. Si moved to Rockville in 1942, six years after his 1936 marriage to Marion Nemser of Somerville, MA, to whom he was married for 65 years prior to Marion's death in October, 2001. At the time of his move to Rockville, Si's father, Jacob, was engaged in tobacco farming and a business under the name of the Rockville Grain & Coal Company. Si helped his father in those businesses during afternoons, Saturdays and Sundays while attending Ellington schools and Rockville High School. During his growing up years, while working on tobacco farms, Si acquired a love for the land and later worked on his father's potato farms in Ellington, which Si subsequently operated. He was the class orator when he graduated from Ellington public schools in 1922, and graduated from Rockville High in 1926 as the "outstanding student" and a leader in school activities and sports. In his senior year at high school he served as business manager of the Yearbook and captain of the state's championship basketball team. Si went on to college at Syracuse University, transferring to and graduating at age 22 from Boston University Law School with an L.L.B (J.D.) in 1931. He practiced law in Boston until 1941, and then moved back to Connecticut in 1942. Si became interested in politics and in 1946, running as a Republican, Si was elected to the General Assembly. He was reelected three times, serving as Republican House Majority Leader in his last term. In 1953, he was appointed by President Dwight D. Eisenhower as Connecticut's first full-time U.S. Attorney, the state's highest federal officer, and served until 1960 when he ran unsuccessfully for Attorney General of Connecticut. In 1961, he became a state Circuit Court judge and was appointed to the state Superior Court in 1971, where he served as a Judge and Referee for 45 years. During that period Si was known for his staunch independence and integrity. As a loving father, grandfather and great grandfather, Si was always dedicated to and a source of inspiration to his family and friends. He was gifted with intellect, the skill of oration, courage, compassion and a rich sense of humor. Si was a Founding member of Temple Beth El in West Hartford and a long active member of Temple Beth Israel. He was also an active supporter of the Jimmy Fund, the Hebrew Home for Women and a member of many national and local community organizations. The world has lost a wonderful man, public servant, community member and dear friend to many; as well as one of Connecticut's most dedicated Boston Red Sox fans. Si is survived by two sons: his eldest son, David, a neurological ophthalmologist, and daughter-in-law Vernice of Spokane, WA; his youngest son, Jim, an attorney and candidate for U.S. Senate of Minneapolis, MN; two grandchildren, David Cohen and Coby Cohen, both lawyers in Seattle, WA and Coby's wife Miriam Jaffee Cohen of Seattle; a great granddaughter, Ayla Shoshana Cohen, daughter of Coby and Miriam; four nieces and a nephew: Lois Cohen of Longmeadow, MA; Francis of Westborough, MA and Francis's husband Howard; Ellie Cyr of Ormond, FL; Hanna Gutfarb Mazer and her husband, attorney Michael Mazer of Washington, DC; and William Gutfarb and his wife Wendy of Nadick, MA. A funeral service will be held at the Weinstein Mortuary, 640 Farmington Avenue, Harford, at 11 a.m., on Friday, February 15. In lieu of flowers, memorial contributions in Si's honor may be sent to Hartford Jewish Federation in Hartford. Following Si's burial at Temple Israel Cemetery in Avon, his family will receive friends at Si's home at 24 Winchester Drive, West Hartford.

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