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Cohen, Bess J.

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June 25, 1919 - November 10, 2008

Cohen, Bess J.

89, beloved mother, grandmother and great-grandmother and a dedicated civic worker and community leader, passed away on November 10, 2008 in Dallas. She was born in Dallas on June 25, 1919, and is survived by her children, Jan (Joe) Cukier, and Michael B. Cohen (Ruth Bakal); grandchildren, Meredith Cukier, Steven Cukier, Wendy Cohen and StacyBeth Cohen, great-grandchild, Brynn Grumbles, brother, Julius “Red” (Frances) Coleman, and sister-in-law Mary (Harold) Goodman. She was preceded in death by her husband, Morris Cohen and sister, Lee Margolis. Bess was one of the true stalwarts for charitable causes, particularly Jewish organizational work, and completely dedicated to serving her community. At Congregation Shearith Israel, she was the first woman elected to the board of directors and an officer. She served as an executive officer or as a member of the board of directors there for more than 50 years, and she was a past president of the sisterhood, an active member of Israel Bonds, Mizrachi, Women’s Division of the Jewish Welfare Federation (VP), Jewish Community Center of Dallas, B’nai B’rith, Golden Acres, Jewish Family Service, Hadassah, etc. She also served as president of the Presidents’ Council of all Jewish Women’s Organizations in Dallas. She was named the first Women of Valor in Texas by Israel Bonds and was honored by virtually every Jewish organization in the community. In 1971, she was named “Man of the Year” by the Zionist Organization of America. She was nicknamed “Mrs. Shearith Israel” by Rabbi Jordan Ofseyer for her tireless dedication to the synagogue in many different ways ranging from being editor of its newsletter and a religious school teacher to being an officer and director for decades. Other civic activities included the Community Chest, Red Cross, United Fund and Wadley Blood Center. She as also a member of Who’s Who of American Women. After the death of her husband, Morris, in 1972, she became president of Cohen Candy Company, a business that existed in Dallas for more than 80 years. In the last years of her life, her health began to decline and deepest gratitude is owed to Linda Roberson, Sarah Flynn, Wilma Foster and many other caregivers for all their help, patience and love. Bess was a special person who did good things for others. Funeral services will be held on November 11, 2008 at 1:00 p.m. at Congregation Shearith Israel, Rabbi William Gershon officiating. In lieu of flowers, memorials may be made to the Bess and Morris Cohen Fund of Congregation Shearith Israel or the charity of your choice. Services entrusted to Stephen B. Blend.

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