Cohen, Mark I.
A businessman and civically minded retailer of women's fashions in the Boston area for over four decades, died August 5, 2013, in Boston of natural causes. He was 88 years old, but, with his trademark humor still intact, recently suggested he didn't look a day over 87. Mr. Cohen owned the eponymous Mark & Company stores, featuring contemporary women's fashions, with six locations in greater Boston. Previously, he had been president of Leeds, a family owned women's retail business, and ran the clothing division of several Pappagallo stores in the Boston area. Mr. Cohen was a dedicated supporter of the city's civic life. He served as president of the Back Bay Association for two years, for which he also produced the "Million Dollar Fashion Show" benefit featuring 1955 Miss America Lee Ann Meriwether; as a member of Mayor Hynes' Civic Progress Committee; as a founding committee member of the Boston Arts Festival in the Public Garden; as a member of the board of directors of the Massachusetts Zoological Society; as a founding member of the Esplanade Association and as a director of the Neighborhood Association of the Back Bay for nine years. Mark Cohen was born August 16, 1924, in Chelsea, Massachusetts, to parents Lillian Weiner and Albert A. Cohen. He attended Brookline High School and graduated from Huntington School for Boys in Boston. After completing the South Western College Aviation Cadet Program, he served in the U.S. Air Force during World War II
as a staff sergeant, stationed as a radio operator and gunner on B-17's and PBY Catalina flying boats on air-sea rescue missions between Ascension Island and French West Africa. Mr. Cohen was introduced to the world of women's merchandise via his family's business, Leeds, assuming the role of company president when his father retired. In 1972, foreseeing the shift to smaller boutique-style retail stores, he closed Leeds and took over the clothing division of three Pappagallo stores in the Boston area. Eager to run his own business again, he opened Mark & Company in 1978, featuring contemporary women's fashions, eventually expanding its operations to six locations in greater Boston. A confirmed bachelor into his 50's, he met and married Karen Bard Manulis in 1978. Mr. Cohen was renowned for his warm and welcoming personality, his love of storytelling, anecdotes and jokes, and his tradition of delivering lengthy, impromptu, humorous toasts in rhymed verse. An avid reader and, in his later years, a nascent painter, he enjoyed creating original watercolor cards and recommending his "best books of the month" to friends. Mr. Cohen is survived by his beloved wife of thirty-five years Karen Bard Manulis, his sister Eleanor (Cis) Corman and nephews Jeffrey, Stephen, and Richard Corman. He was pre deceased by his brother Alfred Cohen and his niece Nina Corman. Funeral services will be at Temple Israel, 477 Longwood Avenue, Boston (attendant parking on the Riverway) on Thursday, August 8 at 10AM. Interment will follow in Sharon Memorial Park. In lieu of flowers, donations in his memory may be made to Sherrill House, c/o Development Office, 135 South Huntington Avenue, Boston, MA 02130.