Helen Slipman Kohlman

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Helen Slipman Kohlman, age 81, left us on December 4, 2013. A native-born and life-long New Orleanian, she was preceded in death her parents, Isidore Slipman and Fannie Rosenzweig Slipman, and her beloved husband Herman Seiferth Kohlman. Helen is survived by her sister, Marion Slipman Cohen and children, Sandra and Barry Friedman, Marsha and Glenn Morak, Neil and Hannah Kohlman, and Ira Kohlman and John Thompson. Helen was most proud of her seven grandchildren, David and Bradley Friedman, Jessica, Jeremy and Jonathan Morak, and Jacob and Ella Kohlman. Helen was a product of the New Orleans public schools, graduating from Eleanor McMain Senior High School. One of only 3 women, she was the valedictorian of her class at the Loyola University School of Law, and an editor of the Law Review. She did all this while raising 3 small children and having number 4 while in law school. Helen had a distinguished 45 year law career, practicing with her husband Herman as Kohlman & Kohlman. Helen also served as an ad hoc judge in the Orleans Parish Juvenile Courts and was a member of the Louisiana legislative committee that re-wrote Louisiana domestic and community property laws, eliminating the gender oppressive " head and master regime" that allowed husbands to encumber or sell community property without the wife's permission or knowledge. Helen was a life-long Democrat and political activist, especially for causes that promoted racial and gender equality. Helen was president of the Independent Women's Organization and a founding member of the Committee of 21, formed to solicit and promote female candidates for political office. Helen loved her city and served it well. She is the longest serving member of the New Orleans Library Board for over 32 years, first being appointed by Mayor Ernest Morial. In her term Helen oversaw 3 new libraries built in Algiers, Gentilly and the Rosa Keller branch in Broadmoor. Helen served on the Rivergate Development Corporation Board, and was instrumental in negotiating the contracts that brought Harrahs to New Orleans. Her most recent involvement was bringing the Saenger Theatre back to its original glory. Mayor Marc Morial awarded Helen the Mayor's Medal of Honor Award for her longtime service to her city, especially the libraries. As an active member of the New Orleans Jewish community, Helen continued to give of herself to the causes she cherished most. A staunch supporter of the state of Israel, Helen chaired the Israel Bonds campaign in New Orleans for many years, raising millions of dollars and seeing that investment build a country. Helen served on the Board at the Willowwood Home for the Jewish Aged, ultimately becoming the president. She was part of the committee that started the planning of what was to become the Woldenberg Apartments, making Willowwood a premier destination for the elderly who would need that care and support. Helen really connected with young people, ask her grandchildren. She shared that love for learning with over 20 years of students as an adjunct professor of the A.B. Freeman School of Business at Tulane University, where she taught business law, winning the best professor award on multiple occasions. Helen Kohlman was the original Renaissance woman, lawyer, judge, political activist, community leader, teacher and philanthropist. She gave of herself to many worthy causes and left the city a better place for her having been here. And she led by example. However, Helen would always tell you that her proudest and most worthy accomplishments was her family and her favorite titles, the jobs she cherished most were simply, Mom and Granny. Funeral services will be held at Gates of Prayer Synagogue, 4000 West Esplanade Ave., Metairie, LA on Sunday, December 8, 2013 at 2:00 PM., with visitation beginning at 12:30 PM . Rabbi Robert Loewy will officiate. Graveside services will follow at the Hebrew Rest Cemetery No. 3, Frenchmen at Pelopidas Streets. The family will be sitting Shiva and receiving visitors directly after the graveside ceremony at the home of Neil and Hannah Kohlman, 1710 Valence St., New Orleans, LA. In lieu of flowers, donations can be made to the New Orleans Public Library or Congregation Gates of Prayer, Social Action Fund, Metairie, LA. THARP-SONTHEIMER FUNERAL Home of Metairie is in charge of arrangements. Condolences may be expressed online at www.tharpsontheimer.com. Information, please call (504) 835-2341.
Published in TheNewOrleansAdvocate.com from Dec. 5 to Dec. 8, 2013
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