Obituary of Rae P. Cohen
Rae Cohen, age 92, passed away peacefully at home in Stamford, CT on April 7, 2023. She was born June 9, 1930 to Ben and Lena (Tonopolsky) Rosenberg in Kansas City, Missouri. She grew up in KC, graduated from Central High School in 1948, and then attended the University of Kansas. Her family could not afford tuition, so she would attend a semester, then work for several months in KC to save enough in order to return to campus. Upon graduation with a BA in English, she worked in advertising in the 1950s, including as a copywriter for Macy’s. She was committed to helping others improve their lives and making people feel good about themselves. She was a passionate supporter of the new state of Israel, volunteering with Bnai Brith Women, and raising funds for Hadassah. She was an early proponent of fitness and diet science, teaching exercise classes at the Jewish Community Center in KC.
On Valentines Day in 1965 she married Charles Cohen with whom she shared 51 wonderful years until Charlie’s passing in 2016. In the 1970s she raised her children with unconditional love and a focus on education. She was an enthusiastic “room mom” showing up at school events like Halloween with a crystal ball (bowling ball) telling our classmates about their successful futures, and a fierce supporter of her children’s sports and science endeavors, and led our educational family summer trips across America.
In 1979, she began a second career doing taxes at H&R Block, and she loved it. She became a Master Tax Preparer and Enrolled Agent, doing hundreds of returns each tax season, becoming the most prolific and popular preparer in her district. She was passionate about educating people to understand their financial situation and taxes, and gave sound investing advice. She and Charlie travelled the world in the 1980s after Charlie’s retirement, including trips to Japan, Singapore, Kenya and Israel.
In the early 2000s they moved to Los Angeles to be close to her newest grandchildren, who loved going to their Westwood apartment for sleepovers and trips to Jerry’s Deli. Her research and advocacy to care for Charlie consistently amazed doctors at Cedar’s Sinai and UCLA, where she helped him getting enrolled in innovative trials, including heart valve replacement, that prolonged and improved the quality of his life.
In 2011, Rae and Charlie moved to Atria Senior Living in Stamford, CT to be closer to family. While continuing to care for Charlie, she became an integral part of the Atria community, working with the staff to initiate a book club for residents, joining the dining committee to improve nutrition, and became a voluntary ambassador for new residents helping them feel comfortable, and developing cherished friendships with other residents. She loved the caring and devoted staff at Atria, where she felt blessed to live for 11 years. Rae spread joy with her warm smile, self-deprecating humor, unwavering support, and kind words.
She is survived by her daughter Audrey Piccirillo (Dan) of Kassel, Germany, sons Jeff Cohen (Valerie), Darien, CT, and Michael Cohen (Laura), Winchester, MA, grandchildren Michelle and Annetta Piccirillo, Berlin, Germany, Amanda Cohen, New York, NY, Emily Cohen, Darien, CT, Max Cohen and Becky Cohen, Winchester, MA, and great-grandchildren Liora, Noam and Samuel.
Donations may be made in Rae Cohen’s name to the U.S. Holocaust Museum in Washington, DC. A graveside service will be held at Temple Beth-El Cemetery, 360 Roxbury Road, Stamford, CT at 1:30pm on Sunday April 9th. To send online condolences to the family, please visit gallagherfuneralhome.com.