Sheldon G. Cohen, M.D., 94, a research scientist, physician and medical historian of Chevy Chase, Md. and formerly of Pennsylvania, died March 26, 2013, in his home as a result of complications from a stroke.
Born in Pittston on Sept. 21, 1918, he was a son of Dorothy and Samuel Cohen. Dr. Cohen attended Pittston schools and was a graduate of Wyoming Seminary, the Ohio State University and the New York University School of Medicine.
He served as a flight surgeon, rising to the rank of captain, with the U.S. Army Air Force during World War II. Immediately after the war, Dr. Cohen did post-doctoral research at the University of Pittsburgh. In the Wilkes-Barre area, he was associated with the former Mercy, Wilkes-Barre General and Veterans Affairs (Administration) hospitals.
Dr. Cohen arrived in Maryland in 1972 from his private medical practice and an experimental biology research professorship at Wilkes University. He was invited to join the National Institutes of Health after his offices in Wilkes-Barre were inundated in the Agnes Flood of 1972, destroying his extensive patient records and research.
He was employed by the National Institutes of Health, National Library of Medicine, where he was engaged in history of medicine research and writing for the past 25 years. Prior to that time, Dr. Cohen led the Immunology, Allergic and Immunologic Diseases extramural research grant program in the National Institute for Allergy and Infectious Diseases. He also served as a clinician and researcher at NIH.
A recipient of numerous awards, Dr. Cohen was recognized as a pioneer and dogged advocate for allergic disease and asthma research and treatment. With his quick wit, kindness and generosity, he was known to occasionally accept a bushel of tomatoes or sweet corn as payment from some of his Wilkes-Barre-area patients.
Dr. Cohen was an inveterate fisherman and a dedicated freshwater sailor during his years in Pennsylvania, though he often joked that the fish enjoyed a holiday whenever he was on the water. His curiosity led him to international travel and the exploration of other cultures with friends and colleagues around the world. Of late, he enjoyed watching college sports on television and when his Ohio State teams took to the field or the court, he would kindly rib his University of Michigan great-nephew about the ongoing rivalry.
His sister, Bernyce Cohen Epstein, preceded him in death in 2004.
Dr. Cohen is survived by his nephew, Lee Epstein, Silver Spring, Md.; niece, Jayne Epstein, Tempe, Ariz.; and three great-nephews.
In lieu of flowers, contributions may be made to the National Institutes of Health, National Library of Medicine Historical and Rare Book Collection, or to a
Funeral direction is by Danzansky-Goldberg Memorial Chapels Inc. of Rockville, Md., with a private burial.
Published in Times Leader on Mar. 30, 2013