CLAREMONT, CA – Leonard Cohn, a prominent administrator in the Monterey School District, died on June 26, 2013 at the age of 93. Cohn moved to Monterey from Claremont in 1967. After three years as Vice-Principal of Pupil Services (Counseling and Guidance) at Monterey High School, Cohn was promoted to Director of Child Welfare and Attendance in the District Office. He held that position until he retired in 1989. Neil Fearn, Cohn's boss at Monterey High, said Cohn "was a great problem solver with troubled children and families. He did a super job." Dan Albert, who was head football coach at Monterey High when Cohn was an administrator, said of Cohn, "He was stern, strict, but fair." Albert later became mayor of Monterey.
Cohn had been a legendary football and baseball coach and inspired hundreds of athletes and students during his 18 years at Claremont High School in the 1950s and 1960s. Amassing a formidable football coaching record of 141 wins, 19 losses and one tie, Cohn led the Claremont Wolfpack to ten league championships and two CIF championships - in 1956 and 1958. "The distinguishing characteristic of Len Cohn," said Dr. Robert Benson, who played on the 1958 championship team, "is that he was deeply interested in developing young men as well as football players. He was a second father for many of us and the only father-figure for some."
Born in Hartford, Connecticut in 1919, Cohn was one of four children. He was a member of the "Clay Hill Gang," 50 kids who hung together and made just a bit of mischief. From 1942 to 1946, Cohn fought with valor in the U.S. Army in World War II. Promoted to Captain at age 21, he fought in the Battle of the Bulge. A graduate of Central Connecticut State University, where he starred as a tailback on an undefeated football team, Cohn married Florence Lichtenstein in 1947 and they relocated to California and had five children. After Cohn served one year as a high school teacher in San Bernardino, they moved to Claremont, where he became a high school teacher, and football and baseball coach. He served as President of the Southern California High School Football Coaches Association, an organization with 1200 coaches. Cohn and his wife, Florence divorced in 1966.
Cohn married Catherine Sullivan in 1972 and helped raise her sons in the Monterey area. When Catherine died in 1995, Cohn moved to San Diego to be near two of his daughters. He returned to Claremont a few months before his death.
Cohn is survived by his children, Marjorie Cohn, Gary Cohn, Nancy Cohn Morgan, Susan McGeachy, and Terri Peters; stepsons, John Sullivan and Joseph Sullivan; 15 grandchildren and nine great-grandchildren. Contributions may be sent to Claremont High School Hall of Fame. A celebration of Len Cohn's life will be held on Saturday, August 3, 2013 at 3:00 p.m. in the gymnasium at El Roble Junior High School, 655 N. Mountain Ave. in Claremont.
Published in The Monterey Herald on July 10, 2013