Lawrence  Cohen

Obituary of Lawrence Cohen

~~Lawrence A. Cohen died Sunday, November 12th surrounded by his wife, Donna McNamara, and family in his home of twenty-six years in Morristown, New Jersey. Larry was the patriarch of a family that spans from coast to coast, small in numbers but large in love.


Larry was born May 26, 1940 in Brooklyn. He grew up of modest means with his parents Ina and Ralph and his younger brother, Myles. His childhood fostered many fond memories such as stickball in the streets and family trips to Rockaway Beach. Throughout his life the Jewish faith and culture played a formative role. Larry found identity in his heritage and passed that on to his family. Inspired by this belonging, as a young adult he journeyed to Israel. Last year, he returned with Donna as part of a very meaningful mission to Poland and Israel arranged through the Jewish Federation.


Following his parents’ wishes, Larry graduated from Brooklyn College to become an accountant. He quickly learned that, while he had the finance and business sense for accounting, his true passion was working with other people to solve challenging problems. Thus, he returned to school to earn his MBA from Pace University and began a successful career in organizational consulting. Larry brought his mind and talent to AT&T, McLagan International, Inc. and PSEG, building an impressive network of colleagues and earning the respect of those with whom he worked. During retirement he dedicated himself to public service and community. Larry served Morristown for many years on the Planning Board and the Board of Adjustment; and, he enthusiastically volunteered to help the Kellogg Club with anything from fund raising to lawn clean-up.


In 1981 Larry met Donna, the love of his life, his partner, and his soul mate.  Their lives were uniquely intertwined. They truly enjoyed each other’s company every day - sharing dinner and a glass of wine, taking a walk in the park, or building a fire and curling up to watch a good movie in the evening.  They also deeply loved sharing family experiences - laughing about escapades, reliving poignant moments, and crying over heartaches. Larry and Donna built a varied, exciting, and fulfilling life together. They explored the richness of cultures throughout the world, became charismatic members of the distinctive Woodlands Group learning organization; and, created a gracious, welcoming home filled with antiques, paintings, and special memories.  Over the years they also developed warm, deep, and lasting bonds with dear, dear friends.


Larry was extremely proud of his only child, Matthew.  Despite living on opposite sides of the country, Larry was a wonderful role model, nurturer, and guide as Matt grew up. He showed his son the world, and also the values of discipline, education, careful planning, empathy, kindness and the importance of family. He enjoyed imparting his wisdom, though let Matt make his own decisions and mistakes.  Larry’s time together with Matt was significant and cherished. Visits to the Jersey Shore, one of Larry’s favorite places, created fond memories for father and son. In recent years, their joy of the ocean has been extended to Matt’s children, Lincoln and Keeley. In July of this year, Larry and Donna took them to the shore for a week. It was a special time Lincoln and Keeley will treasure forever.


The importance Larry placed on family is seen in the ways he extended his guidance and love to his niece, Lindsay, and nephew, Aslan. Larry was heartbroken by Myles’s untimely death and he actively filled a nurturing, parental role for Lindsay. He danced with joy at her wedding to Jarrod and gleamed with a parent’s pride at her burgeoning career in nursing. Larry also loved to travel to the Pacific Northwest to vacation and spend holidays with his sister-in-law, Winni, her husband Paul, and Aslan as well as his son, daughter in-law and grandchildren. In August of this year, the entire family gathered at Winni and Paul’s home for Matt’s magical wedding to Shelly. Larry gained two new grandchildren, Logan and Evelyn.


Larry’s short battle with mesothelioma has stunned the family. They have joined together to say goodbye in a private service. An open celebration of Larry’s life and his wonderful qualities of caring, thoughtfulness, loyalty, and good humor will be held on December 17th from 3:00pm to 6:00pm at the Kellogg Club, 25 Colles Avenue, Morristown, NJ 07960. In lieu of flowers, please consider a donation to the Jewish Federation of Greater Metro West, New Jersey www.jfedgmw.org. Arrangements were under the care of Dangler Funeral Home, Morris Plains.